You could be forgiven for thinking that one of great novelties of the 2008 presidential election is the prevalence of the Obamacons — the conscientious objectors to the Republican Party who in great droves will be voting Democratic this year. I have no idea whether the number of conservative elites who have endorsed the Democratic candidate is higher this election than it was in 2000 or 2004, but it’s indisputable that such defections are like never before being turned into the stuff of media legend.
You get the feeling (or at least I do) that the instant stardom with which several Obamacons have been rewarded has less to do with their reasons for supporting Obama and a lot more to do with the desire of journalists to convince themselves that their adolescent infatuation with the Democratic candidate is perfectly warranted.
Anyway, I happened upon the latest Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll, and noticed something interesting. Here is the breakdown of support for Obama and McCain among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents (my apologies for the lack of table formatting — I couldn’t figure it out):
Democrats 88 10
Republicans 11 86
Independents 50 46
Perhaps this poll has it all wrong. But I doubt it, given the simplicity of the question. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that at least among the voting public, there is no “Obamacon” effect. Obama has the support of 11 percent of Republicans, while McCain has the support of 10 percent of Democrats. That’s a one-point difference — a statistical irrelevancy. What an overwhelming trend.