The latest Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP daily tracking poll finds Barack Obama leading John McCain by 3 percentage points, 45% to 42%. But there’s an interesting nugget inside the data: among those who display the American flag, McCain leads by 48% to 39%. Among those who do not display the flag, Obama has a more than two-to-one lead: 61% to 27%.
Why do I doubt that the ordinarily poll-hungry media will bother to mention this insight into who is supporting which candidate?
It was a year ago, you’ll recall, that Obama himself announced that he would not wear the American flag on his lapel, calling it “a substitute for true patriotism.” As NewsBusters recounted at the time, ABC reporter David Wright tried to bolster Obama by declaring of flag pins: “Ike didn't wear one. JFK either. Nixon did wear the flag....as he told the American people he had nothing to do with Watergate.”
After clinching the Demoratic nomination in early May, however, Obama began pinning the flag onto his lapel, although his explanation did not exactly ring of enthusiasm: "If it ends up being on another suit, I might leave it one day, but it's something that I've done before and I'll certainly wear it again."
Here’s a flashback to how ABC’s Good Morning America last October stood up for Obama during his “no flag pin phase,” as MRC’s Scott Whitlock noted at the time:
ABC Graphic: "Politics of the Pin: Why Won't Obama Wear Flag?"
Chris Cuomo: "And let's take a look at the race to '08 and why presidential contender Barack Obama won't wear an American flag lapel pin. His answer? Obama told an ABC affiliate that they've become a substitute for true patriotism and that's why he declined to wear one. But the story will not end there. David Wright has more."
David Wright: "After 9/11, the red white and blue lapel pin became the fashion accessory of choice for politicians, but not all of them."
Unidentified reporter: "You don't have the American flag pin on. Is this a fashion statement?"
Wright: "This week, a reporter for ABC's Cedar Rapids affiliate was the first to notice."
Senator Barack Obama (D-ILL): "You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin."
Wright: "But Obama said he eventually decided to stop wearing the pin."
Obama: "That became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security. I decide I won't wear that pin on my chest."
Wright: "The comments kicked up a hornet's nest."
Sean Hannity [from radio show]: "Why do we wear pins? Because our country was under attack."
Wright: "The obsession with flag pins is relatively new.Ike didn't wear one. JFK either. Nixon did wear the flag-"
Richard Nixon: "Well, I'm not a crook."
Wright: "-as he told the American people he had nothing to do with Watergate. Turns out, Senator Obama is in pretty good company in this campaign. Most of the other candidates for president this year don't wear the flag pin. John Edwards also wears his late son's outward bound pin. Hillary Clinton often goes pinless out on the campaign trail."
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "I think there are so many ways Americans can show their patriotism."
Wright: "Of all the candidates this year, only Rudolph Giuliani is rarely seen without his flag pin."
Obama: "I'm less concerned with not what you wear on the lapel, but what's in your heart."
Wright: "A fashion statement that could provoke plenty of debate. For 'Good Morning America,' David Wright, ABC News, Washington."