The Importance of Number TwoDemocrats would appear to be positively giddy over a new Los Angeles Times poll that has Barack Obama leading John McCain by twelve points:
A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll seems to back up the Newsweek
poll. This new survey has Obama up 12 points over McCain (49%-37%).
It is entirely too early for Democrats to take a breather (and, as I have told Adam Graham on several occasions, I still think John McCain will pull out the General Election-these numbers look strikingly similar to John Kerry's numbers at this point in the race four years ago. John McCain's biggest weakness, however-the one thing that can beat him-is not Democrats, but conservative Republicans staying home:
“McCain suffers from a pronounced ‘passion gap,’ especially among conservatives
who usually give Republican candidates a reliable base of support. Among voters
who described themselves as conservative, 58% said they would vote for McCain;
15% said they would vote for Obama, 14% said they would vote for someone else,
and 13% said they were undecided.
Conservative activists warned the GOP establishment that they would be less-than-excited about a McCain candidacy, and the numbers on the ground seem to bear out that this is coming to pass. Base voters' lack of passion for his campaign must figure into John McCain's choice of a running mate if he is to win in the fall. McCain runs the risk of taking the conservative base of the GOP for granted as a shoo-in, possibly thinking that conservatives find Obama so repulsive that we will run to McCain by default. John McCain cannot afford the luxury of capitalizing on a base that traditionally has not supported him, and he must actively court conservative voters to win. The best way to do that and appear trustworthy is to pick the right Number Two.