From the AP news wires today:
Booneville, Ky – “Senator Barack Obama often commands large crowds of young people, college graduates and women at speeches and campaign rallies. But the central front in his war for the White House with Senator John McCain remains hardscrabble Appalachian communities like Owsley County, Kentucky (population 4,858), where Senator McCain recently ended a campaign stop with a nightcap at a local bar. Senator John McCain also does well among the wealthiest 2% of Americans, as well as, with no encouragement of his own, that small number of white Americans who are publicly, avowedly racist.
Merle Black, a professor of politics at Emory University, says Senator Obama ‘may have real trouble with the votes of white racists’ who, Dr. Black notes, are not sympathetic to his candidacy.
Professor Vincent Hutchings, at the University of Michigan, agrees, saying, ‘There are some people who simply aren’t going to vote for Barack Obama this election – and for those voters, John McCain is their candidate.’
If Mr. Obama faces a challenge in narrowing Mr. McCain’s substantial advantages, the struggling economy offers the Democratic candidate a small hope for building his lead. The poorly-timed remarks of Mr. McCain’s adviser Phil Gramm, who resigned after he derided ‘a nation of whiners’ about the economy, have added to GOP fears about job losses and market worries on President Bush’s watch.
The national poll, done by Dobby House Selves Research, Inc., found that Senator Obama leads Senator McCain among registered voters 76% to 23% (margin of error +/- 5%). While Obama’s tenuous lead, one he has held for months, is statistically significant, what the poll really demonstrated was McCain’s ‘Solid 17%’ – the number of voters who, it seems, will vote for Senator John McCain no matter what he says, what positions he reverses himself on, or even whether or not he is totally wrong on the issues they care most about.
‘It’s impressive,’ said John McCain’s Chief Advisor Charlie Black, ‘John McCain attracts this core of loyal voters who are ready to go to battle for him in the general election, come heck or high water.’ When asked whether Senator Obama could overcome this ‘Solid 17%’ core of McCain voters Charlie Black sounded skeptical. He pointed out that it was still very early in the election cycle, and the Republican nominee would likely at least double his ‘Solid 17%’ of voters in November.