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McCain and the GOP Base

Is McCain's Republican support as strong as he thinks? (Bloomberg).

By Juliet Eilperin
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- As he seeks to win over Florida Republicans in a closed primary here next week, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reiterated today that he "earned more Republican votes than everyone else" in New Hampshire and South Carolina. The truth, however, is more complicated.

According to National Election Pool exit polls, self-identified Republicans in New Hampshire backed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 35 percent to McCain's 34 percent. However registered Republicans backed McCain over Romney 37 to 33 percent.

In South Carolina, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee edged out McCain among self-identified Republicans 32 to 31 percent; there is no party registration in the state. The typical error margin for these exit polls is plus or minus 4 percent, so this amounts to a statistical tie.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) acknowledged this just after McCain spoke with conservatives, saying that in the South Carolina primary contest between Huckabee and McCain, "Among conservatives in general, it was a one-point difference." Still, he argued the senator's electability remains a strong selling point for conservative voters.

"John McCain has a record that attracts conservatives in New Hampshire and South Carolina," Graham said. "There are a lot of people drawn to our campaign because they want to win."

And while McCain's 95-year old mother Roberta told C-SPAN's Steve Scully Thursday that the GOP will have to "hold its nose and pick" McCain "as the nominee," the senator said that he did not necessarily endorse that sentiment.

"I respect and love her," he said of his mother. "My mother and I, as much as I love her, don't always agree on every issue. My mother deserves a little bit of latitude, given the fact that she has always tried to speak in a candid fashion."

By Washington Post editors  |  January 25, 2008; 2:10 PM ET
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A Pro- AMNESTY republican presidential nominee?! - NEVER! Illegal Immigration is the ONE ISSUE that clearly works for the republicans in the upcoming general election. To run a man who ignores his party's wishes on this issue and cedes it to the democrats would be MADNESS!!!

Posted by: michaelLitz | January 26, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

When McCain's 95 year old mother, Roberta McCain, was asked how much support she thought her son had among the base of the Republican Party, she instantly replied, "I don't think he has any. ... Maybe I don't know enough about it, but I've not seen any help whatsoever."

John McCain's mother says he has no support from the Republican base, Is he the right candidate for the Republican Party?


Posted by: jeffboste | January 25, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure the Republican base in Florida will not be swayed because Mel Martinez supports McCain. They're way too smart to be mindlessly following someone just because he happens to have an opinion. Mitt Romney is the candidate that will be the conservative Republican leader that will unify our party against the Clintons. If you haven't already watched the MSNBC debate from last night, please take the time to do so before you vote. Mitt was the shining star, a true conservative leader who has the history of changing broken businesses and organization. He has been a leader since he was a young about him and you'll see. He has simultaneous business/law degrees from Harvard where he graduated at the top of his class in BOTH. Contrast that to Senator McCain's bottom 5% in his navy class. We don't want the candidate who was endorsed by the liberal NY Times. We want the man who has lived his whole life as a conservative, who adores his wife and 5 sons, who will fix our broken America! MSNBC came out in criticism of "straight talking" McCain today for lying on several counts last your research :)

Posted by: wendim1 | January 25, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Martinez can't be his running mate!

Posted by: mshimazu | January 25, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Mitt is the best hope for Florida.

McCain is an Independent calling himself a Republican. (How is that for straight talk?)

I expect Mitt to win next Tuesday. He had the momentum before the debate, is said to have won the debate, and is going to get the majority of Fred's supporters based on early data and their similar stands on central Republican issues.

I have zero respect for McCain, even though I am a Veteran. He represents compromise, both public and private (moral), and I had enough of that with Clinton. We don't need it from a Republican!!!

Posted by: Jed_Merrill | January 25, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to guess that most conservatives aren't going to appreciate it when they find out that a McCain outreach director is a dual citizen who's a former Mexican government official:

Yes, that's right: a former Mexican government official.

Since the MSM will never ask him about this, please go to McCain's public appearances, ask him about the quotes at the link, and then upload McCain's response to video sharing sites. We need to do the job the MSM won't do.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | January 25, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Florida Republican Senator Mel Martinez is set to endorse McCain tonight.

Posted by: steve_valeriote23 | January 25, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

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