Barack Obama has won over more than half of Hillary Clinton's former supporters, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll that finds party loyalty trumping hard feelings less than three weeks after their bruising Democratic presidential contest ended.
The poll suggests time is beginning to heal some rifts from the primary campaign and that the New York senator's endorsement of Obama carried weight. The poll was taken in the days after Clinton suspended her campaign and said she was supporting her rival.
Obama's progress with Clinton supporters is marked, yet far from complete. More than one in five who had backed the New York senator now plan to support Republican John McCain in the fall.
“We still have work to do,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters in a strategy briefing. “Democrats are consolidating behind the nominee as the choice in the election is more clear and as the contest fades. Time is our friend here.”
The AP-Yahoo News poll, conducted by Knowledge Networks, is part of an ongoing study that tracks the attitudes and opinions of a scientifically selected group of more than 2,000 Americans to see how their political views evolve over the course of the campaign.
The poll found 53 percent of the Democrats who favored Clinton for the nomination two months ago now back Obama for president. That's an improvement from April, when only 40 percent of Clinton supporters said they would back Obama over McCain.
“It wasn't a difficult decision – I was a lifelong Democrat,” said 55-year-old Susan Gates of Massachusetts, a former Clinton backer now firmly in Obama's camp.
Twenty-three percent of Clinton's backers picked Republican John McCain over Obama.
Of the rest, 16 percent were undecided, 5 percent were for independent candidate Ralph Nader and 3 percent said someone else.