February 8th, 2008
05:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama bests Clinton against McCain


A new poll indicates Obama does better against McCain than Clinton. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

(CNN) - It's a question both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have raised since John McCain's initial surge in the polls: Which Democrat can best take on the Arizona senator in a general election match-up?

A new Time magazine polls seems to suggest the answer is Obama.

The poll, conducted over the three days leading up to Super Tuesday, shows Obama beating McCain by 7 points, 48 percent to 41 percent. Clinton ties McCain at 46 percent.

The difference between the two candidates, according to Time, is where the Independent vote goes: The poll indicates a larger share of those voters will chose to support McCain over Clinton than McCain over Obama.

Exit polls taken from the early primary contests have indicated that both McCain and Obama have strongly benefited from the support of Independents. In combined surveys of the 22 states that voted on Super Tuesday, Obama beat Clinton among Independents by roughly 20 points. McCain, meanwhile, beat rival Mitt Romney among Independents by nearly 15 points on Super Tuesday.

Responding to the poll's findings, Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson touted the New York senator's vast differences with McCain on a host of issues, and pointed to a recent CNN poll that showed Clinton beating McCain by 3 points. Though that same poll found Obama beating McCain by eight points.

CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider says the biggest difference between Obama and Clinton is their support from male voters. In the CNN poll, Obama and McCain were nearly tied among male voters, but the polls shows men breaking for McCain over Clinton by nearly 20 points.

"Obama argues that he can reach across party lines," Schneider said. "And he does do a little better than Clinton with Independents and Republicans. But the big difference is that Clinton doesn't draw very well with men. Obama does."

Click here to read CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider's analysis.

- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Andrew Goff

    If Hillary gets the nomination over Obama, I will be just disillusioned enough to never vote again.

    That goes for me and 10,000,000 other 18-30 year olds. This is likely your last chance to be relevant Democrats.

    February 8, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. sharon R

    you think so well this middle age woman will not vote for him and I hope others won't we need an adult in office not a newbie

    February 8, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. Against the Cult

    Dear Media,

    You just like drama. Well you have succeeded. The best story will be how all your spins & high profile endorsements brought down the democrats in November.

    February 8, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. jp


    February 8, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Marsha

    The Peoples' Choice-
    The Peoples’ Choice –
    Do they want to elect a media hype ‘movement’ supported by naïve ‘ideal’ worshipers?
    A well-credentialed, knowledgeable leader with a proven humanitarian service record both in the United States and around the world to take the helm of America and help bring her back to her pristine place in our global society.

    February 8, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Vince, Los Angeles

    This should end all the whining from the Hillary Camp...If they are REALLY interested in a Dem president next year...they should get behind Obama's campaign.

    February 8, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. vl

    I find this very interesting since most of the Independent voting men I know won't vote for Obama.

    February 8, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Murray

    Whatever. We all know these polls are meaningless and have no validity when it comes to actual voting. None of the polls we have been bombarded with have reflected accurately what has happened on voting days. So I won't be swayed by this latest poll, the reporting of which just serves to further contribute to the media's construction of Obama as the "savior" and Clinton as the unelectable female candidate. Wake up America. Emerge from the Obama spell and check out reality again! When the glitz and glamor subside, there is only one candidate who has the courage, experience, skill, knoweldge and grip on reality that the Presidential role requires and that's Hillary Clinton. Save this country and vote for Hillary Clinton. And I am a MALE.


    February 8, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Dem08

    POLLS again.. They have been so right so far....Its funny how I was just at real clear politics and there are several polls that show Clinton beating McCain.

    Is it me, or does a story like this come out a day before each election.. Almost like those terrorist threats we used to get from the republicans.

    This means nothing.

    February 8, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Joe Jacques

    Will the democrats never learn? In a year where they should be the overwhelming favorites they are going to blow it. Take a page out of the Republican playbook and pick the candidate who polls better against their man, and do it quickly. Time and money are so important. The Republicans are now raising money and campaigning against democrats. They will have plenty of time to heal any wounds they now have. The better candidate would obviously be Obama. Hillary will never get cross over voters to vote for her and Obama's new voters will never vote for Hillary. All of Hillary's people would vote for Obama. It is really very simple but Mrs. Clinton and her stubborn supporters will never acknowledge this and McCain will become the next President otherwise. If Obama is endorsed and put forth as the candidate it would usher in a new and dominant era for the Democratic Party. He will succeed. It's obvious that the man does not settle for anything less.

    February 8, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Sarah


    That means nothing gets done in Washington and we get the same-o-same-o

    That's why Barack Obama is the best candidate....CHANGE

    Barack Obama 08!!!

    February 8, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. brc272

    So, in other words she won't win because she's a woman.

    So sad...

    February 8, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. new jersey

    did not need a scientific poll to determine this... although making the argument is easier when science has your back...


    February 8, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Captain

    As an Obama supporter, I can see how the poll results reflect sexism among men. But, before you Hillary supporters attack, ask yourelf this question: In the matchup with Hillary and McCain, does Hillary do badly because of sexism or because a lot of men just don't like Hillary? Think hard before you answer the question.

    Also, the poll sums it up. If you WANT A DEMOCRAT to be in the White House next year, vote for Barack Obama!!! He is our party's best chance for victory!!!!

    February 8, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Veronica Ward

    Those republicans unhappy with McCain will also jump ship and support Obama. Ever heard of the "Obamacans." They are all over the internet. So Hillary supporters, for the good of the democratic party, tell Hillary to step aside. I definitely DO NOT want another Republican in the white house. Maybe she'll be a good V.P. I do not want to take a chance on Hillary and we lose to McCain!

    February 8, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. Help Us Obama

    Obama is a leader and Hillary is administrative help.

    February 8, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. B from Miami, FL

    Polls don't really matter these days, now do they?

    February 8, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. Matt

    the gap btwn 48 and 46 percent is 2 points, not 6. if that is in fact the gap, please correct it. this news network is shameful in the amount of trivial yet glaringly obvious errors it makes. are you really a professional network or what?

    February 8, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. James ( Independent )

    This is a no brainer..............Clinton is UN-ELECTABLE ( period ).

    February 8, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Dawn

    I thought you knew...

    February 8, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Brenda

    Well personally I am supporting Hillary Clinton. She has far more experience and qualifications that Obama. I will not vote for Obama if he is the nonomiee. I have listened to the debates and I do not like for what Obama satnds for. I do not think he should give the illigal imigrants drivers licenses. That is just like giving them to terrortist. I hate to support Mc Cain, but I will and many others I have talked to feel the exact same way. If Hillary can not be the democratic party nonomiee I will cast my vote for McCain. Personally I do not like anything ath McCain stands for and I might just not vote at all if this come to be.
    Hillary for President 2008

    February 8, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. matthew

    i know that if Obama gets the nomination, I will be voting for McCain.

    Hillary is my first choice however.

    February 8, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Independent

    If the DNC wants a democrat in office then they need to take information like this into consideration when making the cut. I am an Independent and if Hillary is the candidate I will vote for McCain.

    February 8, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Ron, TX

    In 14 of the past 17 general election surveys between McCain and Clinton, McCain won. Clinton lost 14 out of 17 times!

    In 12 of the past 17 general election surveys between McCain and Obama, Obama won. -McCain- lost -12- times!

    Wake up democrats! We're going to be completely ambushed if we elect Hillary!

    February 8, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. WestCoastMessenger

    Methinks Mr. Mooney messes up his math. 48-46 = 2 (isn't this within margin of error). I suggest you shutdown this article - it's a flawed hack job at best.

    February 8, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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