Hillary Clinton strongest vs. McCain

Memo from Harold Ickes; May 1, 2008

A spate of new public polls out this week confirms what we have been arguing for some time: Hillary Clinton is the strongest candidate to beat John McCain in November.

The data shows that Clinton not only outperforms Obama in head-to-head matchups, but is also stronger in the all important subcategories that serve as bellwethers for a candidate’s overall strength.  In addition, new data out today in three swing states vital to Democratic prospects in November show Clinton beating McCain.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH MCCAIN: In a hypothetical general election match-up with McCain, Clinton wins handily (50-41) while Obama is virtually tied with McCain (46-44), according to the AP-Ipsos poll released Monday.  A new poll from CBS/NYT show Clinton beating McCain by five points (48-43), while Obama ties McCain (45-45). The new Fox poll has Clinton beating McCain by one point (45-44), while Obama trails McCain by three points (43-46). And in Gallup’s daily tracking poll, Clinton leads McCain by one point (46-45) while Obama trails McCain by two points (44-46).

SWING STATES: New Quinnipiac polls out today show Clinton dramatically outperforms Obama in the critical swing states of Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, Clinton beats McCain by ten points (48-38), while Obama loses to him by one point (43-44). In Florida, Clinton beats McCain by 8 (49-41), while Obama loses to him by one point (42-43). Hillary also tops McCain by 14 points in Pennsylvania (51-37), while Obama’s lead over McCain is in single digits.

CLINTON BEATS MCCAIN AMONG INDEPENDENT VOTERS; OBAMA TIES HIM: The new AP poll has Clinton leading McCain among independents (50-34) while Obama is tied with him (42-42).  The NBC/WSJ poll notes that Obama’s negative ratings among independents are they highest they have ever been.

CLINTON IS THE CANDIDATE VOTERS TRUST WITH THE ECONOMY: The economy is the top issue among voters and is likely to remain so through November. In the CBS/NYT poll, Hillary beat both Obama and McCain as the candidate who is talking about the economy most by a margin of 25% to Obama’s 13% and McCain’s 7%.

OBAMA UNFAVORABLES RISING QUICKLY: In the CBS/NYT poll, Obama’s unfavorables increased by ten points in the last month (24 to 34%) while his favorables decreased by four points. In the CBS/NYT poll, Obama’s unfavorables among independents rose to 31%. The Fox poll shows that in the last two months, Obama’s unfavorables have increased by nine points (33 to 42%) while his favorables decreased by seven points (54 to 47%).  In the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Obama’s negative ratings increased by five points in the last month (32 to 37%) while his positive ratings decreased by three points in the last month (49 to 46%).

CLINTON STRONGEST AMONG SWING VOTING BLOCS: The new AP-Ipsos poll shows Clinton leading McCain among seniors (51-39) but has McCain BEATING Obama (49-38).  She runs stronger against McCain with those under 30 than Obama does, pulling two-thirds of the young vote while Obama gets 55% against McCain. And she wins the Catholic vote against McCain (58-35) while McCain beats Obama (46-43).

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