Friday, January 19, 2007

DNC: 'McCain is Tanking' Pandering and Support for Iraq War Escalation Take Their Toll

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In his attempts to make inroads with far right conservatives who don't trust him, John McCain has forfeited much needed support among moderates and independents, without whom his electoral prospects will surely fade.

After two thirds of Iowa GOP County Chairs expressed "disdain for his politics" last week, the Executive Director of the South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus acknowledged this week that "we're programmed to hate McCain," and conservative leader James Dobson added that he prays they "don't get stuck with him." On Thursday, McCain gave in and voted to kill grassroots lobbying campaign finance reform he had sponsored in the last Congress but which Dobson and other conservatives strongly opposed. [The Hill, 1/18/2007; Roll Call, 1/10/07;, 1/13/07; AP, 1/17/07; The State, Op-Ed, 1/14/07; AP, 12/20/06;, The Fix, 1/16/07]

The pandering has taken its toll. An ARG poll in New Hampshire found that McCain has lost a whopping 20 points among independent voters. ARG President Dick Bennett noted that a similar trend exists throughout other early primary states, asserting that "McCain is tanking." On the same day, the Los Angeles Times found that the Bush-McCain strategy to send more U.S. troops to Iraq has also cost him dearly, with 42 percent of all respondents and 43 percent of independents saying they would be less likely to support McCain as a result. [Boston Herald, 1/18/07; LA Times/Bloomberg poll, 1/18/2007]

"McCain's do-anything-to-win approach to the 2008 primaries has made him un-electable," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Luis Miranda. "Conservatives don't trust him and the Bush-McCain troop escalation in Iraq has put him squarely in opposition to independents and the majority of the American people."

McCain Panders, Votes Against Grassroots Lobbying Reform Similar to What He Once Sponsored. McCain voted for the Bennett amendment to the Senate Ethics Reform Bill to strike provisions requiring that activist organizations which engaged in grassroots lobbying efforts had to report details of their activities and finances. "While grassroots groups on both sides of the political spectrum oppose the proposal, social conservative leaders such as Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, who broadcasts a radio program to hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians, have been its most vehement critics. McCain sponsored legislation last Congress that included an even broader requirement for grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors." [The Hill, 1/18/07; S.Amdt.20 to S.1, Vote #17, 1/18/07, agreed to 55-43; R: 48-0, D: 7-43, McCain voted "Yea"]

ARG Poll: McCain "Tanking." Independent Voter Support Collapsed. "Manchester, N.H.-based American Research Group finds that McCain's popularity among New Hampshire's independent voters has collapsed. 'John McCain is tanking,' says ARG president Dick Bennett. 'That's the big thing [we're finding]. In New Hampshire a year ago he got 49 percent among independent voters. That number's way down, to 29 percent now.' American Research Group, which is New Hampshire's leading polling company and has been operating in the state since 1976, polled 1,200 likely Granite State voters in the survey. Bennett says ARG is finding a similar trend in other states polled, including early primary battlegrounds like Iowa and Nevada. 'We're finding this everywhere,' he says." [Boston Herald, 1/18/07]

L.A. Times: Poll Shows McCain's Support For Escalation Hurts Him Among Dems and Independents. "McCain's vocal support for sending more U.S. troops to Iraq has set him apart from most of the emerging crop of major presidential contenders. And that position could harm his political prospects, according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. More than one-third of those polled -- 36% -- said they would be 'much less likely' to back the Arizona Republican for the White House because of his position. Six percent said his stand made them 'somewhat less likely' to vote for him. Only 13% said they were somewhat or much more likely to support him because of his embrace of a force escalation; 42% said it had no effect on their view of him; and 3% gave no answer to the question. Perhaps most ominously for McCain, the survey found that his advocacy of a troop buildup could undercut what has been one of his political strengths: the ability to attract independents. In the poll, 43% of independents said they were somewhat or much less likely to vote for him because he has backed President Bush's plan to deploy 21,500 additional troops to Iraq. Among Democrats, 59% said McCain's view made them less likely to support him. His position helped him only among his fellow Republicans, and within this group the impact was not substantial -- 24% said McCain's stance made them more likely to support him, 16% said they were less likely to do so, and the rest said that it had no effect or that they did not have an opinion on the matter." [Los Angeles Times, 1/18/07]

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