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Some Voters Surprisingly Crossing Party Lines

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Some Voters Surprisingly Crossing Party Lines

Election 2008: Voting Groups

Some Voters Surprisingly Crossing Party Lines

Some Voters Surprisingly Crossing Party Lines

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/95821082/95821078" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the U.S. Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a rally in Downingtown, PA on October 16, 2008. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

In a historic presidential campaign, such issues as race, gender, age, and religion are playing a role in voters' decisions about the candidate they will support.

But there are some, who, despite various aspects of identity, are flipping the script. They've decided to vote in ways that could hardly be expected — sort of outside the box. And they've been widely criticized for it.

Among them are James T. Harris and John Martin, who discuss the conflict.

Harris, host of the radio program The National Conversation with James T. Harris in Milwaukee. He was condemned in the African-American community when at a recent town hall meeting in Wisconsin, he pleaded with Senator John McCain to increase attacks against his rival, Senator Barack Obama.

"I had no idea of the level of hatred and backlash that I was going to get from the Barack Obama supporters, primarily in the American-African descent community," Harris told Tell Me More host Michel Martin. "It's just — it's been overwhelming, the hate and the death threats."

Martin, is the founder of Republicans for Obama. He says although he has no plans to leave the GOP, he is supporting a Democrat this election because Obama is a unique leader.

"He is the type of leader that we need right now. He aggressively reaches out to people throughout the political spectrum. He courts Republicans and Independents and that is a breath of fresh air," Martin said.

He says the reason those within the organization want to stay in the Republican Party is because they believe the party can reform itself.