A new Washington Post poll finds both Democratic Party hopefuls leading GOP nominee John McCain in the November election:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) kicks off his general-election campaign trailing both potential Democratic nominees in hypothetical matchups, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.Note something funny about these results: Just last week the Los Angeles Times found McCain leading both candidates, with the Arizona Sentator holding a six-point lead over Hillary Clinton.
Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) leads McCain, who captured the delegates needed to claim the Republican nomination Tuesday night, by 12 percentage points among all adults in the poll; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) holds a six-point lead over the GOP nominee. Both Democrats are buoyed by moderates and independents when going head to head with McCain and benefit from sustained negative public assessments of President Bush and the war in Iraq.
About two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job and think the war was not worth fighting, and most hold those positions "strongly." A slim majority also doubt that the United States is making progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq, even as McCain and others extol recent successes there.
These views are closely related to voters' choices: McCain does poorly against Clinton and Obama among those who disapprove of the president and those opposing the war.
So here the poll's likely oversampled Democrats, or the intense coverage of the Democratic Party race heading in the Texas and Ohio primaries has created a media effect favorable to Clinton and Obama.
Morover, the survey was conducted before McCain secured the GOP nomination and President Bush's endorsement (which will alientate Democrats and rally Republicans).
So, it's just a snapshot.
As things continue to improve in Iraq, and as the Democrats continue with their long drawn-out nonination contest, the lead in public opinion will float up and down between McCain and his potential rivals.
I'm excited for the Dems to wrap up their primaries. It's going to be a very close race, even with the presumption of favorable Democratic election trends this year. McCain's going to do some heavy pounding, especially on national security and patriotic values.
See more analysis at Memeorandum, and especially the ejaculatory Daily Kos (which is attacking McCain's age, his Iraq support, and the economy as in "recession).
Discussion Question: Are the Democrats in the driver's seat heading into November?
UPDATE: This really is a flawed poll, or at the least is just already out of date, considering developments in the presidential primaries since Tuesday.
A new, post-Texas and Ohio survey conducted by SurveyUSA finds statistical dead heats in trial-run matchups between McCain and both the Democratic hopefuls:
1,041 registered voters interviewed by SurveyUSA 03/05/08, following Clinton victories in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island on 03/04/08.
Also, regarding the Washington Post, check out Flopping Aces, "What A Shocking Poll!
* Clinton 48%
* McCain 46%
* Obama 46%
* McCain 46%
Complete results posted here Thursday morning 03/06/08.
It turns out that the Post's sample was composed of 55 percent identified or leaned Democratic (net), so it's no wonder that support for Clinton and Obama was so skewed.
As I said earlier, the race will be close, and frankly the longer the Democrats delay in selecting a nominee, the better for the GOP in terms of fundraising and voter mobilization (but see Karl Rove's qualifications of this point).