Obama Wins Primaries But Protest Votes Are High
Is President Barack Obama in danger of losing the general election? Possibly. But there’s little use in pretending that the votes in the Arkansas and Kentucky primary have any bearing on that fact.
Yesterday, Obama went unopposed in the Kentucky primary, and was challenged by attorney John Wolfe in Arkansas. In both cases, he lost roughly 40 percent of the vote.
That he had near identical results regardless of whether or not he had a challenger makes it clear that there is a definite base of Democrats who are angry with the President and unhappy with the job he has done so far. But will that translate into them not voting for him in the general, when the choice is Obama or likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney?
Neither of the states are expected to be competitive in November, so performance doesn’t matter in the long run. And for a vast number of voters in both states, their Democratic registration exists mostly to allow them to vote down ballot on local races, rather than the top of the ticket.
In Arkansas especially, Wolfe was flanking Obama on the left, and stood on a progressive platform that many activists wished the president himself would take up, such as single payer health care and more banking regulations.
Would a voter who cast a protest vote for Wolfe be likely to pick Romney when it was a head to head with the final candidates? Nope.
If the president is in trouble when it comes to the general election, it’s not due to his showing in these primaries, it’s because of his performance in the states that could go either way.
Photo from whitehouse.gov