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Republicans for Obama

Justin Webb | 04:11 UK time, Tuesday, 5 February 2008

How much of Barack Obama's support over the next few hours will come from Republicans? Not from Independents. Not from Waverers. Not from Undecideds. No, I mean from previously red state enthusiasts.

Barack ObamaI know Republicans who are seriously impressed with the Illinois senator, not because they fear his political acumen but because they think he might be a good thing. Part of it comes I think from their hatred of Hillary but there is more to it than that. Colleagues in the British media sensed the same thing last year, though it was rather forgotten in the general acceptance of the "Hillary is inevitable" myth.

But "Republicans for Obama" are an interesting and significant force and perhaps deserve their own bumper stickers and all the recognition that goes with them.

How else do you account for the behaviour of Bill Bennett - the talk show host and one time Reagan cabinet member - in recent appearances on CNN: Bennett can barely disguise his admiration for the man, as I see others have noticed.

Finally what are the surprises to watch for as much of the nation goes to the polls?

Conventional wisdom is that the Republicans will back McCain overwhelmingly and the Democrats will fight on. But might Romney use a surge in California (which some polls have picked up) to turn things around?

And on the Democrats' side, conventional wisdom is that the Clinton early voting effort - postal ballots - will hold off any late Obama surge. But here is another view, which by Wednesday may have become the new conventional wisdom...

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 04:49 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Anthony wrote:

"Republicans for Obama" are real:

And so are their bumper stickers:

  • 2.
  • At 06:07 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Sunny H wrote:

I have a sense from talking with those around me that there may be a lot of Republicans who will vote for Obama in the Presidential election. I may well be among them. I am still watching and listening, but he seems to be saying what I want to hear more than any other candidate. And has been for the past four years.

My biggest concern is national safety after the mess that Bush has created (I did not vote for him - don't blame me). I want a candidate who I think will be able to keep my family safe in this increasingly unstable time. One who will reach out to find solutions through diplomacy and will work to improve the world's opinion of my country.

I want an open minded, intelligent leader who will encourage investment in this country's education as our young are our future. We need a President who will not mandate creationism's fake science to be taught in our schools as so many mindless Republican candidates advocate just to curry votes. Nor do I want one who would "put prayer back in school", unless that prayer alternated between all religions, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindi, Native American, etc. But, I don't see any of the evangelical candidates open to having any prayers other than their own particular sect's included.

I am concerned, too, about this country's infastructure which is aging. It needs attention before any more bridges collapse. I want a leader who would encourage innovations in alternative energy sources to decrease our dependence on oil. Most of all, I'd like someone who will reach out to the other side to try to work together to solve these problems. Seems to me that, until lately, few other than Obama have advocated doing so.

  • 3.
  • At 06:17 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • H K Livingston wrote:

Let Sen McCain be the Republican nominee, or let it be Mr Romney. Let Sen Clinton carry the Democrats, or let it be Sen Obama. And let it be one or the other in November.

Just please spare us the Gore2000/Kerry2004/Paul2008 excuse "If the results say I lost, the other side MUST HAVE CHEATED!".

  • 4.
  • At 06:53 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

Obama is impressive, but I doubt there will be any statistically signficant cross over vote from anyone other than Republicans that lean independent. The policy differences will likely be too great. Bill Bennett is a prime example as referenced in the post above. He may admire Obama, but there are significant policy differences between the two. Either way, this is proving to be a very interesting election year.

  • 5.
  • At 06:53 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Laura Alexis wrote:

One member of my family is a Republican and after watching one of Obama’s debates he said to me, “Now I can vote Democrat again.”

I fit into the “young people” category that is voting for the very first time this year. I already have a personal favorite (Obama), but I would like to hear people's opinion of Hillary Clinton. I have observed Clinton’s adversarial approach towards anyone who dares to compete against or disagree with her. She has also demonized the Republican party by portraying them as a group of people who drink the blood of infants. Yes, Clinton is very experienced but she is also extremely divisive. Is it wise to overlook Clinton’s divisive ways, and are they not an indication of how she would govern the country as president and possibly even relate to foreign leaders (if elected)? I keep hearing people say that Clinton has the “experience” to take on the problems that America now faces. Is Clinton not a part of the problem (or a significant contributor)? And why is she getting a free pass while her character is hardly even being questioned? I do not want to give the impression that I am a Clinton-hater because I think that Hillary is an excellent politician, and therein is the problem. I cannot overlook her character, or lack thereof.

  • 6.
  • At 07:56 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Trust Tom Hamaleka wrote:

I am a Zambian male aged 29 who has been following the US election trail with keen interests.I am not surprised that Obama has won the hearts of so many Republicans let alone independents because i believe he has what it takes to be the President of the USA but above all he has a great weapon that none of the other contenders dont have...charisma.Having said all this i cannot resist to say that whoever emerges as an eventual winner between the two democratic contenders they are bound to make history in the politics of the USA because i do not see a Repulican making it to the White House in the next term because Americans are hungry for a total change.
However, it is my sincere hope that at the end of the day we see "Obama and Hill" or "Hill and Obama" become running mates because whichever way the nominations turn out the two will be making history in the US politics (black President and female Vice President or female President and black Vice President).God bless America!

  • 7.
  • At 07:57 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • daryl g short wrote:

republican from delaware who supports obama

  • 8.
  • At 08:09 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Martin wrote:

"There is room up there on Mount Rushmore". That quote is from the TV-series "The West Wing", but i believe that Sen. Obama might very well be heading for that room up there. IF (and only IF) he can end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reign in the budget, solve the energy problems, restart the economy and keep his other promises (like universal healthcare) he deserves that room up there. And being accepted by both sides of the aisle is the best way to get these things done...

  • 9.
  • At 08:13 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • The Observer wrote:

The only reason there are Republicans For Obama is that they know Obama would get hammered against the GOP candidate.

It is so transparent that a blind man can see what is going on.

I just hope that most Americans can see it too.

PS I am surprised that no-one, else bar yourself, has pointed out that many people have already voted - almost a month ago - when Clinton was up to 20+ points ahead in some states - that is going to make all these latest polls look stupid - California especially.

  • 10.
  • At 08:15 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Chris Busby wrote:


That's my bumpersticker.

  • 11.
  • At 09:02 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Andy W wrote:

So with 'Republicans for Obhama' and 'Coulter for Hillary', who are these republicans who are voting for McCain? Oh, hold on, they're all Democrats aren't they? So all the republicans are voting Democrat and all the Democrats like the Republican. I can't decide whether that is a very heathly democracy, or a very confused one. Oh well, it makes for good TV here in the UK. Enjoy it Justin!

  • 12.
  • At 11:50 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Roman wrote:

The reason Republicans (and CNN) like Obama so much is that he's much, much easier to beat.

People are in a transe with Obama right now but if/once he's elected, it will soon be over and he'll be demonized the same way he's currently being canonized.

Obama has absolutely no idea of what it's like to be fighting the Republican war machine. If he wins the nomination, the election is over and in January 2008 President McCain will be sworn in. Obama has no experience of national security / hard issues whatsoever, and with the first terrorist/war scare, the public mood will immediately swing to McCain.

  • 13.
  • At 12:18 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Paul Bestall wrote:

I just find the whole positive discrimination for Obama rather distasteful. Last week the BBC ran a story which incorrectly claimed that he was winning the race to be the Democratic nomination. So far Clinton has won more primaries which says it all.
Good luck to him, but please report facts and not mythology.

  • 14.
  • At 12:27 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Justin wrote:

I can't speak for Republicans so apologies for straying somewhat.

Barack Obama is clearly a superb orator and has already been unofficially endorsed by every single newspaper in Britain.

When I hear Hillary Clinton telling her supporters it's time to restore America's reputation around the world, I keep thinking Barack Obama has already gone a long way to doing that.

Despite all the allegations that there is little substance behind the rhetoric, I think it's important to remember that in diplomacy, rhetoric is everything.

America is the most influential country in history. It is, therefore, not unlike Marmite - you either love it or hate it. But I think Barack Obama has such power to turn heads, he will turn many opinions around the world as well. He doesn't just inspire Americans with hope, he inspires people across the globe. Nothing could be better for improving America's national security then voting for Obama.

  • 15.
  • At 12:39 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Lisa wrote:

Greetings, Justin, from Missouri where this die-hard conservative Republican evangelical has been agonizing over a voting decision for months. Yes, you hit the nail on the head. I'm one of many Republicans who is seriously considering a vote for Obama. My decision stems from a lack of viable Republican candidate, and also a firmly held decision to keep Hillary out of the White House. Hillary finally unveiled her Universal Healthcare plan yesterday, in which she as president will garnish wages from US taxpayer paychecks in order to pay for it. This doesn't surprise me at all, nor does her audacious tendency to treat all American taxpaying wages as her personal spending accounts. Anyone who viewed her Christmas campaign commercial could easily read between the lines that every wrapped package she was prepared to hand out was bought and paid for by American paychecks. This is outright, blatant socialism, a liberal who has never held a working job in her entire life that was not funded by US taxpayer dollars. I may not agree with everything Obama says, but today when I go to vote he will be a serious consideration on my voting ballot.

  • 16.
  • At 12:55 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Pancha Chandra wrote:

America needs a leader with brains, vision, empathy and who has been tested through and through. On all these counts Hillary should come out of the Super Tuesday exercise smelling of roses as she has the guts, determination and the courage to lead and transform America into the great power it was especially during the Kennedy era. The country seems to have lost its way in the last eight years. There has to be genuine empathy for the poor and the needy. Unless there is decisive input and leadership from the President, the country could slip into insignificance on the international stage especially with regard to its ability to negotiate on a raft of international issues.

  • 17.
  • At 01:08 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Andrea wrote:

Most republicans, however, are more center/right than Obama, who is very liberal.

If Obama were to win, he would ultimately have to defend his "policies" (which are still somewhat of a mystery) and get into the nuts and bolts of his liberal positions with the Republican candidate.

Somehow I can't see Obama waxing on about "change" for long in this scenario. Someone will ultimately ask, "Yes we can....what?"

  • 18.
  • At 01:17 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • James Le Fanu wrote:

Woohoo! Something positive for Obama out of the Webb-blog! And only 5 gazillion days into the campaign, too. Let no-one say that you were slow to catch on!

  • 19.
  • At 01:42 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Hill-Raiser wrote:

The reason repubs will vote for obama is NOT their hatred of Hillary.
It is their FEAR of her. Hillary is the ONLY candidate that will win hands down over the repubs.
The obama / oprah ticket will be handily defeated by the repubs in the general election.
Anyone who does not think it's true is a fool indeed.

  • 20.
  • At 03:54 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Landen Bain wrote:

Bill Bennett's "support" for Obama is well explained in "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win", by Shelby Steele. The author, like Obama, has a black father and a white mother, and offers a cogent analysis of white America's relationship with black 'bargainers' like Oprah, Bill Cosby (before he re-defined himself as gadfly to the black community) and now Obama; and black 'challengers' like Jackson and Sharpton. Worth a read.

  • 21.
  • At 05:09 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • The Analyst wrote:

Head on block time - here's my predictions for the results today.

My own number-crunching came up with this for the Democratic contest - this includes a bias in-built due to the numbers of early bird voters that I believe will favour Clinton:

Alabama HRC - 47 BHO 49 - BHO by 2
Arizona HRC - 54 BHO 40 - HRC by 14
California HRC - 53 BHO 41 - HRC by 12
Colorado HRC - 52 BHO 48 - HRC by 4
Connecticut HRC - 50 BHO 44 - HRC by 6
Delaware HRC - 49 BHO 45 - HRC by 4
Georgia HRC - 37 BHO 58 - BHO by 21
Illinois HRC - 42 BHO 53 - BHO by 11
Massachusetts HRC - 56 BHO 38 - HRC by 18
Minnesota HRC - 51 BHO 44 - HRC by 7
Missouri HRC - 47 BHO 47 - tie - too close to call
New Jersey HRC - 53 BHO 41 - HRC by 12
New York HRC - 57 BHO 38 - HRC by 19
Oklahoma HRC - 59 BHO 36 - HRC by 23
Tennessee HRC - 54 BHO 40 - HRC by 14
Utah HRC - 59 BHO 35 - HRC by 14

How the votes split could be crucial - If Obama's votes are too spread out he may end up with a lot less delegates than expected. Equally if they are too concentrated the same may happen.

If they split proportionately Clinton would lead by about 200 delegates (not including suprdelegates) - meaning the contest would roll on. The figures are such that even a 1% shift in favour of Clinton could deliver more than a 1% shift in delegates - it's going to be a long and interesting night.

  • 22.
  • At 05:15 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Misinformed people like Lisa need to apply for a brain instead of plugging into Fox garbage lies like:
"Hillary..will garnish wages from US taxpayer paychecks in order to pay for it. her audacious tendency to treat all American taxpaying wages as her personal spending accounts."

Maybe Lisa should learn to read. This is essential to understanding the verbatim text of what a candidate actually said.

These are typical Republican patsies that are drawn to the stench of GOP lies promulgated by fake news .

  • 23.
  • At 06:09 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Rick wrote:

The only reason so many Republicans are supporting Obama right now is because he will be that much easier to defeat in November. As soon as Obama gets the Democratic nomination, the attacks ads will begin and Americans will be spooked. And the world will have to face another Republican warmonger four years.

It would not be surprising that a Republican might vote for a Dem that they thought would eventually be elected. I voted for McCain in the 2000 primary in an effort to not have Bush be president... obviously that didn't work, but strategic voting on the part of a Republican party that is convinced their candidate won't win in November anyway is hardly surprising to me. Why not have a say in your future president

  • 25.
  • At 07:30 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Gerald wrote:

The commenters above are correct when they say the reason Bill Bennett, William Kristol, and other Republican pundits are falling all over themselves to praise Obama is because he will be easily defeated by McCain or Romney. Many pundits say Obama is likely to win in the South, but that's a fantasy -- the South has a large proportion of African-American voters, but white Southerners, who have reliably voted for Republican presidential candidates since 1968, will vote overwhelmingly against Obama, no matter what they're telling pollsters.

I have a sad feeling that republicans are pushing for Obama because they think they can easily beat him in a general election. If it's Obama they will play the "experience" card to death. If it's Hilary she'll be portrayed as a "she devil". Obama does have the backing of the nuclear power industry and has courted coal - so maybe the big energy conglomerates will pave his way.

My candidate has been ignored by the media, not allowed to debate and basically railroaded by the corporate machines that prop theses candidates up with big time money. It's a beauty contest. But still I'm going to write in my "first choice". What happens here is that by eliminating the field voters feel compeled to choose from a very limited slate of candidates. We are hounded by the press not to throw our vote away. Well I think as an individual you should have the strength of your convictions and vote your first choice especially if the big money from the status quo doesn't support your candidate or let them debate.

Real change however comes on the floor of congress. If Americans want change they better get progressives into congress with enough votes to beat back a presidential veto. The status quo is entrenched, their lobbyist are in place only a majority of progressive in congress will have the ethics to stand up to them. Now is the time.

  • 27.
  • At 08:47 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Lisa wrote:

I think those who believe that Clinton would handily defeat McCain while McCain would crush Obama aren't looking at the trends. Many polls hypothetically matching Clinton against McCain and Obama against McCain have Obama defeating McCain by a wider, although not significant, margin. How is that explained? In any event, neither Democratic candidate is crushed by McCain in these polls, who is seen by many conservative Republicans as being far too moderate. He's hated by a majority of his own party. Would they rather him than Clinton or Obama? I'm sure. Would they rather just not vote at all in the general election? That's a possibility.

Certain Republicans may favor Obama because they believe he's easier to beat. But that's all it is--some undefined belief based on nothing more than an old-school view of the US. Maybe older voters still consider race to be a factor, but this election will be driven by the younger vote. Have you noticed the record number of voters turning out for elections this year? Most of that is youth--the formerly apathetic crowd that is trying to break the outdated perception of how Americans are supposed to think.

  • 28.
  • At 08:54 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Edward P wrote:

To the people who think it's a ploy to undermine Hillary... it's listening to that kind of liberal conspiracy theory-mongering that's getting me to vote for Obama even as a lifelong Republican (without changing my party affiliation). Both the right and the left have demonized each other for so long, and Obama better than anyone in the current election has put into words what it really means to be a Republican- someone who believes in personal responsiblity, political liberties, and the free markets. From day one, he's the only one championing any kind of discussion about civic duty and sensible political discourse, and probably the only one who i can depend on to take the high road each and every time.

  • 29.
  • At 08:54 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • michael wrote:

I can't help notice that a lot of the Clinton/Barack supporters seem to be sugggesting the other candidate would be an easy contest for McCain. Since he is likely to be a clear frontrunner for the Republicans come Wednesday while the Democrat race rumbles on perhaps its time for Democrats to stop discussing the potential weaknesses of their own candidates and focus on McCain before their doommongering becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  • 30.
  • At 09:12 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Edward P wrote:

To the people who think it's a ploy to undermine Hillary... it's listening to that kind of liberal conspiracy theory-mongering that's getting me to vote for Obama even as a lifelong Republican (without changing my party affiliation). Both the right and the left have demonized each other for so long, and Obama better than anyone in the current election has put into words what it really means to be a Republican- someone who believes in personal responsiblity, political liberties, and the free markets. From day one, he's the only one championing any kind of discussion about civic duty and sensible political discourse, and probably the only one who i can depend on to take the high road each and every time.

  • 31.
  • At 09:32 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Bill Robinson wrote:

Dear Europeans and American Republicans "for" Obama,

The pundits and foreign observers will never fully comprehend the weight of those citizens living west of New York State, south of New Jersey, and east of California.

Obama will never be accepted by mainstream Republicans. He is far too liberal. He is a "fad" right now among young voters and progressive Republicans.

He will never stand a chance in the general election.

For one thing, no Republican will EVER vote for a candidate who was so enthusiastically endorsed by the most outspoken and hated liberal, Ted Kennedy.

If any Republican is tempted to vote for a Democrat, Hillary Clinton will most likely benefit. Hillary and Barack are both extrememly liberal and divisive. But Hillary is less likely to destroy the safety and security of our country.

Respectfully yours,

Bill Robinson, Boston, Massachusetts

  • 32.
  • At 09:44 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Jon McAllister wrote:

I am a staunch Republican but I have to admit that I am voting for ANYONE who is not an old white guy. My reasons for doing this are not based on any specific hatred for old white males but simply because I think the Democratic party has candidates MOST likely to cause a change in the way our country handles its foreign policy and economic affairs.

Finally, I do have to admit that I don't like Hillary. She appears to have too much political baggage (aka Mr. Clinton) and to be really honest Senator Obama is about one thousand times more charismatic (not that this is what necessarily makes a good leader).

  • 33.
  • At 10:01 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • STefanie wrote:

At the end of the day, the Republicans will vote for a Republican. Don't listen to the hype.

  • 34.
  • At 10:55 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • K Clark wrote:

Once the nomination of the Democratic candidate is set, "Republicans for Obama" will evaporate. It doesn't make any differece which candidate is chosen.

  • 35.
  • At 11:37 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Kenneth Tipper wrote:

Justin: After 50 years in Florida, an emigrant from Birmingham, I still love Marmite, which thankfully I got our local supermarket manager to stock on his shelves. There is nothing like Marmite on a piece of toast. However, here is one Republican who would never consider voting for Obama or any other Democrat. The endorsement of this obviously charismatic "young" man (I am 86 so excuse the quotes), by the Kennedy clan I submit has only hurt his chances of becoming President. And you can bet the farm (an American expression that you may not have encountered as yet) that if Billary or Obama win the White House we taxpayers had better look for a raid on our wallets that will make paupers of all of us middle-class Americans who worked so hard for what we have, and resent having to give up a large part of it for those give-away programs so beloved of Democrats from time immemorial. Anyone who would vote for Billary knowing that their wages would be garnished for a national health program would be crazy!

  • 36.
  • At 11:59 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Don't believe anything a self-described Republican says.

  • 37.
  • At 05:31 AM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • cm wrote:

Part of the problem with the crossover vote is that in certain states there are rules about not allowing registered republicans to vote in the democratic primary and vice versa. My brother, who lives in California, is a fiscal conservative who registered Republican because he was not able to vote in the primary election as an independent. Yesterday, I persuaded him to vote for Obama, but when he got to the polls this morning, they said that he could not vote for a democratic candidate because he was registered Republican. So, he went back to his second choice, John McCain. Not all states have these rules. The state where I live allowed me, as an independent voter, to vote for whomever I liked. But in states, like California, which require that you be registered a certain number of days before the election and which require that you vote on the party line, I think it might have thwarted a few middle of the road republicans who decided at the last minute they wanted to vote for Obama.

  • 38.
  • At 09:14 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • Karl wrote:

Mostly what this shows is the irritating tendency for Americans to vote for people who hold values opposite to what they want, simply because they seem like a "nice person". Mostly you see people who should be voting Democrat do that, so it's nice to see it from the other side for a change. Let's face it, McCain will lose not for his policy positions but because he's a grumpy old man with a remarkably bad sense of humor.

Re post 34: McCain says we will be in Iraq for 100 years. We're currently spending something on the order of $140 billion per year. Think about that when you're thinking about your wallet. Or are you taking the standard Republican position that spending billions of dollars you don't have, by borrowing from the Chinese, is fine as long as taxes don't go up? As a member of the younger generation who will have to pay for the catastrophe that will cause, all I can say is "thanks, gramps". But then, I'm 34, so maybe I can vote Republican and pass it on to the people who are kids now!

  • 39.
  • At 05:51 PM on 11 Feb 2008,
  • Elliott Holden wrote:

I reply to your comment by an American who dared to point the finger at the Moral decline in Europe. Your reply infers that Americans should look first to their own back yard before casting stones! I write as a recently retired UK citizen who has lived in California for the past five years. Let me respond in this fashion. In the UK, when you go to the office on Monday morning and you have the temerity to acknowledge that your weekend included attendance at churh, you know that the inner thoughts of the questioner are likely to be along the lines of "hypocritical prig".(Conscience salving maybe?). However, in America,the thinking would be " Oh, very nice if thats what suits you". Surely moral decline is a matter of degree. I have no doubt that small interest secular groups in America are trying to match Europe in its committment to total secularisation. They are pushing for the removal of "God" in their pledge, in their justice system, in schools(already achieved) and from their currency. Will the so called "gullible Americans" allow this to happen?
I find it so refreshing to be amongst Americans who are actually proud of their "flag" and NOT labelled as "right wing nationalists who want to lock up up every suspect and throw away the key".
God bless America! Elliott Holden

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