After watching Republicans beat up on each other for the last couple of years, it is really pleasant to see the genuine sense of full-on loathing that has developed between Hillary and Barack’s supporters of late. Today, there’s yet another poll that suggests that rifts in the Democratic Party that have been caused by this fight are very real and very deep,
In the AP-Yahoo poll — which has tracked the same 2,000 people since November — Barack Obama supporters with negative views of the New York senator have grown from 35 percent in November to 44 percent this month, including one-quarter with very unfavorable feelings.
Those Obama backers who don’t like Hillary Rodham Clinton say they would vote for Republican candidate John McCain over her by a two-to-one margin, with many undecided.
As for Clinton supporters, those with unfavorable views of Obama have grown from 26 percent to 42 percent during this same period — including a doubling to 20 percent of those with very negative opinions.
The Clinton backers with unfavorable views of Obama say they would vote for McCain over him by nearly three-to-one, though many haven’t made up their minds.
…The feelings seem especially widespread among the candidates’ strongest supporters.
_About half of Obama’s white backers with college degrees have negative views of Clinton. Fewer black Obama supporters dislike Clinton but their numbers have grown faster, more than doubling during the period to 33 percent.
_Among Clinton’s supporters, Obama is disliked by nearly half the whites who have not gone beyond high school, a near doubling since November. Four in 10 white women backing her have unfavorable views of Obama.
…Exit polls of voters in this year’s Democratic primaries tell a similar tale of hard feelings.
_In Pennsylvania’s primary last week, which Clinton won, 68 percent of Obama voters said they would back Clinton against McCain. Just 54 percent of her supporters would vote for Obama against the Republican — including less than half of her white voters who have not finished college.
_In the 16 states that held primaries on Super Tuesday Feb. 5, a combined 47 percent of Clinton voters said they would be satisfied only if she won the nomination. That figure has grown to 53 percent in the nine states with primaries since then — including 58 percent who said so in Pennsylvania.
_In Pennsylvania, while Clinton voters overall would vote heavily for Obama over McCain, her supporters who expressed displeasure should Obama win the nomination were evenly split in a contest between Obama and the Arizona Republican senator.
_Obama voters have also grown more surly, though more modestly. On Super Tuesday, 44 percent of his supporters said they would only settle for him as nominee — a number that has risen to 49 percent in states voting since that day.
Exit polls also show key voting blocs’ negative feelings about their candidate’s rival have grown, though it is less intense on Obama’s side.
On Super Tuesday, about half of Clinton’s white supporters with less than college degrees said they would be satisfied only if she won the nomination. In voting since then, six in 10 have said so — including 68 percent in Pennsylvania last week.
On the other hand, 46 percent of Obama’s black supporters on Super Tuesday said he was the only candidate they wanted to win. That number has edged up to 49 percent since that Feb. 5 voting — including 55 percent in Pennsylvania.
Again, it’s worth noting that contrary to conventional wisdom, it’s the Clinton voters, not the Obama voters, who are more likely to defect in November.
PS: These percentages of defecting voters certainly won’t hold up in November, but I do think there will be a significant number of Democrats who aren’t just going to let bygones be bygones, particularly if Obama wins.