DNC - McCain Watch: McCain's Enthusiasm Gap

Washington, DC -- As he visits Michigan today, John McCain finds himself at a particularly low point in his candidacy. In a year when the country is looking for change, McCain has embraced the failed policies of George W. Bush and same old politics as Karl Rove, leaving him struggling to win Americans' support -- even within his own party.

McCain continues to struggle with an enthusiasm gap among his supporters, and now he is also weathering the defection of leading members of his own party. Only three of 12 Republican candidates in competitive Senate races have agreed to come to the Republican convention, and yesterday several prominent Republicans -- including former Representative Jim Leach of Iowa and former Senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island -- joined a "Republicans for Obama" call. Representative Leach said that "The prospect that we'll have more of the same -- that is the source of angst of many Republicans around the country."

As his policies and negative politics fall flat among all Americans, McCain will face a particularly unenthusiastic audience in Michigan, where McCain means four more years of decreasing incomes and rising unemployment. Since Bush took office, median income is down nearly 12 percent in Michigan -- a loss of income of more than $6,000 per household. Bush-McCain economic policies have already cost Michigan nearly 180,000 jobs, and now Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 8.5 percent.


Income Down 11.9%. Median household income in Michigan has decreased from $54,516 in 2000 to $48,043 in 2006, a decrease of $6,473 per household, or 11.9%. [Joint Economic Committee Fact Sheet, 8/29/07, (Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce), jec.senate.gov]

Unemployed Up 74% in Michigan. The number of unemployed workers in Michiganhas increased by 74% under President Bush. The number of unemployed has gone up from 243,604 in January of 2001 and preliminary figures for June of 2008 are 423,401, an increase of 179,797 workers. The unemployment rate has similarly increased from 4.7% to 8.5% - the HIGHEST unemployment rate in the nation. [Local Area Unemployed Statistics, (Seasonally Adjusted), Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 7/25/08, data.bls.gov]


Prominent Republicans Say Prospect of More of the Same Causes Angst for Republicans.
As reported by MSNBC in First Read, on the "Republicans for Obama" conference call held that day, "Leach, Chafee, and Hauser cited the presidential hopeful's approach to foreign policy and to the economy as reasons for supporting him over McCain, saying the Arizona senator would continue Bush Administration policies -- from the war in Iraq to an unwillingness to engage enemies in direct diplomacy -- that have hurt America's standing in the world and its financial stability. Chafee said weve seen our credibility shattered over the last eight years. Added Leach:  The prospect that we'll have more of the same -- that is the source of angst of many Republicans around the country. [MSNBC, 8/12/08]

Former Bush Fundraiser and White House Intelligence Advisor Endorses Obama. From AFP, "Hauser is a New York philanthropist who was a financial backer for Bush in 2000 and served as a White House intelligence adviser, but then endorsed Democrat John Kerry in 2004 owing to her opposition to the Iraq war. 'It's difficult to walk away from your party's nominee but you have to put your country first," she said, adding that Obama appeals to "millions of Republicans and former Republicans.'" [AFP, 8/12/08]

Republicans and McCain in Particular Have "Alienated" Conservatives.
From the Contra Coast Times, "Partly what is going on is that, in recent years, the Congressional Republicans in general and Sen. John McCain in particular have so alienated so many conservatives that some of these conservatives are like a drowning man grasping at a straw." [Contra Coast Times, 7/22/08]