Election 2008

Rush Limbaugh

Effectiveness of ‘Operation Chaos’ Questioned as Limbaugh Switches to Obama

May 08, 2008 04:28 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Chris Coats
The effect of Rush Limbaugh’s strategy to convince Republicans to vote in Democratic primaries comes under scrutiny after Clinton’s narrow win in Indiana.

30-Second Summary

After months of advising his listeners to extend the Democratic primary and damage both candidates by crossing party lines to vote for Hillary Clinton, radio host Rush Limbaugh has shifted directions, now urging them to support Barack Obama. He dubbed these efforts “Operation Chaos.”

After weeks of press scrutiny regarding Obama's past relationships with controversial figures, Limbaugh announced that he believes Obama to be the weaker candidate.

Although Limbaugh has publicly claimed responsibility for Clinton wins in various open primary states, it is virtually impossible to determine how many Republicans heeded his call.

After a narrow loss in Indiana, Obama surrogate Sen. John Kerry noted Chaos’ effect, stating that Clinton’s eight percent victory in the Republican vote came as a direct result of Limbaugh. Clinton’s final lead over Obama equaled about 14,000 votes.

Exit polls did suggest that about seven percent of voters who cast their support for Clinton in Indiana would switch to McCain should she earn the nomination.

While critics point to Indiana as proof of Limbaugh’s impact, Obama’s success with Republicans in earlier states counter that argument.

Limbaugh’s efforts began in February 2008 during a string of primary losses by Clinton, closely mirroring an effort early in the Republican contest when blogger Markos Moulitsas advocated Democrats crossing over to support Mike Huckabee to prolong the Republican primary season.

Headline Links: A real effect in Indiana?

Background: Not the first of its kind

Reactions: Reading the tea leaves

Opinion & Analysis: No way to tell

Reference: The candidates


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