Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Not Just 'Rallying the Base'? 

Although he is known as the candidate of the antiwar Democrats, Dean draws roughly equal support from Democrats who believe that the war in Iraq was not worth the cost and from those who believe it was, another sign of his broadening support. A solid majority (60 percent) of Democrats continue to say they believe the United States should not have gone to war.

But Dean's strength against his rivals masks how little Democratic voters know about him. More than half of Democrats surveyed said they know "hardly anything" or "nothing" about Dean's experience, leadership capabilities or positions on the issues.

The Post-ABC poll suggests that Dean's recent surge has come disproportionately from Democrats who do not closely identify with their party. In mid-October, Dean claimed the support of one in six Democratic-leaning independents and an equal proportion of party rank and file. Today, he gets significantly more support from independent Democrats (35 percent) than he does from party faithful (26 percent).


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