In today's highly polarized political environment it is somewhat surprising to find voters who backed John McCain in 2008 and now support President Barack Obama, but they exist.
Roughly 5 percent of respondents in Reuters/Ipsos polls said they chose the Republican contender in 2008 and will switch to Obama in 2012. This number peaked at around 9 percent two separate times over the summer, according to data collected since January.
Who are these defectors?
Jeff Waltrip, 56, is a retired electrician and retail worker who has voted Republican all his life. But in his view Obama "has done a good job with what he was left with, and I truly believe that allowing Mitt Romney in there is going to make the world a whole lot worse than it is now." Waltrip said he liked the Republican ticket in 2008 because McCain is a veteran and because Sarah Palin "made me laugh."
The McCain-to-Obama switchers are 55 percent male, and 34 percent of them are 55 or older.