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On Barack Obama's to-do list? Coalesce Democrats

August 20, 2008 |  7:02 am

When the curtain rose on Campaign '08, one storyline seemed set in stone: Democrats, bonded by their disdain for President Bush, would remain uncommonly united; Republicans, lacking a clear heir apparent, would for once prove the more fractious party.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama So much for that plot, as underscored by three recent national polls.

Each showed Barack Obama with only a narrow lead, despite leading John McCain among independent voters. The key to McCain's ability to hang tough? Greater support from his fellow Republicans than Obama can claim from other Democrats.

Here are the details:

* In the Pew Research Center poll, 83% of Democrats backed Obama, 87% of Republicans supported McCain. For the entire sample, Obama led, 46% to 43%.

* In the Quinnipiac University survey, 79% of Democrats backed Obama, 83% of Republicans supported McCain. The figures for the entire sample: Obama, 47%, McCain 42%.

* The differences in party loyalty are more pronounced in the new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll. In that survey, Obama was backed by 78% of Democrats, McCain by 90% of Republicans. The overall result: Obama, 45%; McCain 43%.

Obama has many goals to accomplish at his party's convention next week. Prime among them is solidifying his base.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images 

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