New York Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes may be fading, but her vast base of support in Massachusetts is still behind the Democratic Party.
The presidential hopes of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton may be fading, but Clinton’s vast Massachusetts support base is still behind the Democratic Party.
Local party leaders say voters in the Bay State, who preferred Clinton to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, 56 percent to 41 percent, are not about to jump to Ralph Nader, who announced his candidacy on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Change is the word in 2008, and they still believe the Democratic Party will bring it.
“Different people have their views of candidates, but the general mood is that they would be happy to support either choice,” said Michael Traft, chairman of Hingham’s Democratic Town Committee. “There were a lot of people that said they were very torn between the two candidates right up to election day.”
Clinton had no problems carrying Massachusetts, and she won in all South Shore communities except Duxbury, where she lost by four votes, and Cohasset. But she has stumbled in recent weeks, losing 10 consecutive races and the lead in delegates.
Val Blinn of Marshfield, a Clinton supporter, said she would support the party no matter what.
“I would still prefer her, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t vote Democratic,” Blinn said. “I’m not going to go out and vote Republican.”
Despite Clinton’s following in Massachusetts, general election trial heats have Obama performing much better against the Republican favorite, Sen. John McCain.
A Reuters/Zogby poll from Feb. 16 shows Obama defeating McCain, 47 percent to 40 percent, and McCain handily defeating Clinton, 50 percent to 38 percent.
The Democratic race is by no means over. Neither candidate is close to the 2,025 delegates needed to win, nor are Clinton and Obama separated by very much: Obama has 69 more delegates.
Because the race is so close, some in the party think Democrats could head into their national convention on Aug. 25 without a clear nominee.
“We’re hoping that we emerge with a clear choice,” Traft said. “What would be problematic is a dead heat at the convention.”
Scituate Democratic Town Committee Chairman Lincoln Heineman is not concerned. He thinks Clinton supporters will support Obama once it is clear that he has the best chance of winning.
“Speaking for myself, I think Obama will be a great candidate,” Heineman said. “I do think it will be decided very soon, if it is not already.”
Adam Riglian may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.