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Poll: McCain may peel off Obama, Clinton supporters

  • Story Highlights
  • New polls show Sen. John McCain's favorability up with Democrats
  • Gallup Poll: If Obama gets the nomination, more Dems could go for McCain
  • Obama says he can appeal to Republicans more than Clinton.
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From Bill Schneider
CNN senior political analyst
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- New polls show many Democratic voters could swing their support to Sen. John McCain in the general election if their candidate isn't nominated.

A poll shows 44 percent of Democrats said they like Sen. John McCain, and 42 percent don't.

The most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, taken March 14-16, shows the percentage of Sen. Barack Obama supporters who said they'd be dissatisfied or upset if Sen. Hillary Clinton wins the nomination has gone up -- from 26 percent in January, just after Clinton won the New Hampshire primary, to 41 percent now.

The poll suggests if Obama wins, a majority of Clinton supporters -- 51 percent -- would be dissatisfied or upset. The number was 35 percent in January.

The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 7.5 percentage points.

"That's the only thing that could make John McCain president ... if the Democrats get divided," Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Wednesday.

According to a Gallup Poll taken March 7-22, about one in five Obama supporters -- or 19 percent -- said they will vote for McCain if Clinton is the Democratic nominee.

If Obama's the nominee, more than one in four Clinton supporters -- or 28 percent -- said they'd vote for McCain.

The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

The last time many Democrats were willing to vote for a Republican was during the Reagan years: 26 percent in 1980, and 25 percent in 1984.

The bitterness of the Democratic division is not the only reason so many Democrats are considering voting for McCain. Video Watch more on the Democrats' dilemma »

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Poll taken February 1-3 suggests many Democrats like McCain.

The poll showed Democrats were split over McCain: 44 percent said they like him, 42 percent disliked him.

On the flip side, 19 percent of Republicans said they like Clinton. That means nearly 80 percent of Republicans dislike her.

Obama has said he can appeal to Republicans more than Clinton. In the poll, 35 percent of Republicans said they like Obama, while 53 percent said they dislike him.

The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

In a foreign policy speech Wednesday, McCain's message was, "I am not George W. Bush.'' Video Watch analysis of McCain's foreign policy speech »

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McCain, however, supports Bush's Iraq policy -- and Bush has endorsed McCain.

But McCain never mentioned Bush's name. He did, however, identify with Harry Truman -- a Democrat. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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