According to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released last week, Lieberman's endorsement makes only 15% of independents more likely to vote for McCain, yet it persuades 25% of Republicans. But the polls only tell part of the story.
Here are the full results of the question:
Kirchick's larger point is that Lieberman's support may help McCain deeper into the race than most analysts had predicted, contrary to the conventional wisdom that the crossover endorsement would play well among New Hampshire's independents but not South Carolina's Republicans. Kirchick argues that the religious right has embraced Lieberman as one of their own--and that he may well end up as a real asset to McCain in his bid to win over evangelicals. It's a compelling argument.
Consider this: while Lieberman makes 15 percent of Independents and 25 percent of Republicans more likely to vote McCain, the same poll shows that only 15 percent of Republicans would "pay attention" to their spouses when deciding who to vote for. Only 11 percent of Republicans would listen to their religious leaders, and 7 percent would pay attention to newspaper endorsements.
Oprah's influence? 13 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of independents were more likely to vote for Obama as a result of her endorsement. But Oprah's endorsement made larger numbers of each group less likely to vote for Obama--22 percent of Dems, 29 percent of Republicans, and 19 percent of independents.
Across the board, Lieberman has support, and Kirchick's logic only makes a McCain-Lieberman ticket more appealing.