Are Democrats Divided?

The very real energy driving the Democratic primary battle may well end up to be a huge positive for the party come November, as Dan Balz points out in today's Washington Post. But it's increasingly clear that it's not going to happen overnight.

New analysis from Gallup's daily tracking poll, which has been going since March 7th, shows that a sizable number of supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama said they would vote for presumptive GOP nominee John McCain if the candidate they are not supporting fails to win the nomination. Among those Democrats who support Clinton, 28 percent said they would be more likely to vote for McCain next November than Obama. And 19 percent of Obama supporters said Clinton's nomination would make them more likely to back McCain.

That suggests that the divisions being created by this lengthy, and increasingly bitter, battle are hardening. Many indicators, such as turnout and voter registration have thus far shown a heavy advantage for the Democratic Party and what voters say in the heat of one battle can change for the next fight given time. And that may be the real warning sign in numbers like these. Given the summer to recover, the nominee can heal those wounds. But should this contest go all the way to the convention, those attitudes may have hardened even more, with precious little time to change them.