PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts


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  1. Well put, Steven.

    As for what it means for November, I believe there is a literature that addresses related questions. And, while I do not know it well, my understanding is that cross-over voters in primaries–and the demographic groups they represent–do have a tendency to stay with the party in the general. (I am defining “cross-over” here the way I understand Steven to be defining it: Based on people who tell a pollster they are ‘X’ yet plan to vote in the ‘Y’ primary.)

    Even in 2000, “Democrats” who “crossed over” to vote for McCain tended (by a margin of how great, I do not recall) to stay with the Republican, even though the Republican nominee had engaged in a pretty savage primary campaign against their preferred pre-candidate.

    So, I suspect that most of these “Republicans” who are sufficiently motivated in 2008 to turn out and vote in the Democratic primary will vote for the Democrat in the fall, even if it were to be Clinton. (Though they might not even think so now, and will tell a pollster otherwise, with complete sincerity.) I imagine the Dems would lose more of them if it were Clinton just as Reps in 2000 would have retained more of them had their candidate been McCain. But someone inclined to support the nominee of their (usual, or recent-past) party in the fall either votes for him/her in the primary or skips the primary. Most such voters don’t cast votes in the “other” party’s primary and then not vote for that party in the fall. (Keep in mind here another parallel to 2000: Except for NH, nominally Dem voters in 2000 already knew Gore would be the nominee, just as it now has been clear for a while to nominally Republican voters that McCain was going to be their nominee.)

    At least the above is my understanding. Someone with more energy than I have should track down the literature on this. I know it has been much addressed since the age of the primary came in to being over the last 30+ years. In fact, I suspect all the above is precisely the best argument in favor of open primaries, from a party’s own self-interested perspective.

    Comment by MSS — Friday, February 29, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

  2. It is clever re[ublican strategy knock out clinton to beat obama in november what a pity the only loss i see is United States of America

    Comment by gus12 — Sunday, March 2, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

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