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. Rich in Seattle

    Hey, if women can vote for Hillary just because she's a woman, then shouldn't men be able to do the same with McCain? I don't think people would like it if the same logic was used on both sides.

    February 8, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Chris

    Clinton supporters need to pay attention to this. Her support would be within the sampling error of the poll. That's too close.

    Do what's right for the nation and support the candidate who can stop the Republicans and right America.

    Obama 2008. Now.

    February 8, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Scott, Royal Oak

    This reaffirms the fact that Obama is more electable. I've heard so many times that "our country is still too racist to elect a black president". I disagree. There appear to be more people out there (particularly Republicans) who hate Hillary Clinton than there are those who hate black people.

    February 8, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Gobama

    Of course the Clintons WOULD AGAIN ensure that the Democrats skillfully snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    The Clintons debased the Oval Office, undermine the US Presidency and selfishly destroyed their own White House legacy, deny Al Gore, and enabled Bush to empty the National Treasury and waste thousands of good American lives and limbs in an UNPROVOKED war..

    And if the Democrats becomes spineless and enable a CLINTON THIRD TERM, THEN THE DEMOCRATS WILL AGAIN snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

    February 8, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Craig

    it is WAY too early for this kind of polling. Kerry was up on Bush by 14 points this time around four years ago.

    February 8, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Rob

    It says it all right there. 1 more recent poll out shows Obama winning again, but this time Clinton loses to McCain (realclearpolitics.com). I'm voting for a winner!!!

    February 8, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Puzzled

    Have mercy on us, Lord, if either ever sets foot in the White House. And let's pray McCain stays in for only four years. That's about all the liberalism this nation can withstand.

    February 8, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. Independent

    The truth of this statement is reflected in the results from the contests we've had so far. In critical swing states that Democrats need to carry in November, Obama has beaten Hillary Clinton among Independent voters by crushing margins. In Missouri, he won them by 37 points (67-30). In New Mexico, he's winning them by 39 points (63-24). In Arizona and New Hampshire, he won them by 10 points (47-37, 41-31).

    February 8, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. v.ananthan

    THIS IS WHAT REPUBLICANS WANT VOTERS TO THINK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 8, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Justin

    Like even CNN realizes now, you just say NO to BUSHCLINTONISM.

    February 8, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. McCain

    On Super Tuesday, in six red states that had primaries or caucuses for both Republicans and Democrats, Obama won and got more votes than the top two Republicans combined. These states – Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota and South Carolina – account for a total of 53 Electoral College votes. In Idaho and Kansas, where there was no Republican primary, Obama won at least a three-to-one victory over Clinton. Obama has shown such a strong appeal with Independents that even John McCain's Texas media consultant Mark McKinnon recently confirmed that he would not work against Obama if he is the nominee.

    February 8, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. j

    Just shows that the best will win. Bill and Hillary as team evoke memories of impeachments and blatant lies to all of us on TELIVISION NO LESS!!! Would you want him living with the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES!!!! John does not offer change......................Go Obama

    February 8, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. DB

    The gap is the difference between Obama and Mccain.

    More polls can be found at Real Clear Politics, Clinton hardly ever winds a poll against Mccain, while Obama nearly always wins

    February 8, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Bob

    This Hillary vs. Obama thing reminds me of the story in the Bible, where two women each claimed a baby, and Solomon had to decide which was the true mother. So he ordered the baby cut in half. One of the women surrendered her claim rather than see the baby hurt, and so Solomon knew she was the true mother.

    Neither Hillary nor Obama has the party's, or the nation's, best interest at heart. Both of them just want to win.

    February 8, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. Hillary

    You can believe that if you want, but it's not true. Obama will not carry any Southern states. He will not carry Florida. He will not carry Ohio. He will not win.

    Republicans want Obama because he will be easier to beat.

    February 8, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Mohammad, LA CA

    Obama will not carry any southern states? Hillary, baby, are you sure? He did win a bunch of Southern states by huge margins both before and ON super tuesday, right?

    Just vote for him guys, let's end this we know Clinton is a dangerous pick for the democratic nomination. Obama can win.

    February 8, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. Sue, Michigan

    Oh come on. The country is so fed up with the Bush lies and manipulations that I think ANY Democrat can and will beat McCain, who spouts even more war rhetoric than Bush. That is, if we are even allowed to vote....Bush does have that Executive Order out there to declare martial law and suspend the election, and don't think he won't.
    Please support Robert Wexler's attempt to impeach these liars before it's too late.

    February 8, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. jkbowman

    Hillary already reduced to a tie and they haven't even started in on her yet.. But it's coming....

    February 8, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. caywen

    Dear Howard Dean:

    This year, there is going to be a toss-up between the 2 remaining Democratic candidates, and it is partially your job (as well as the other superdelegates) to choose the victor. You need to base it on data and strategy, not on anything else. The data supports an Obama strategy in 2008 because he beats McCain better than the alternative. He attracts the independent vote, yet is supported by the Democratic establishment as much as Clinton is. He has the ability to raise money without resorting to large, personal loans. He can carry forward the best of the Democratic platform, and leave the perceived negatives of the Clinton decade behind.

    That makes Obama the best choice should this election come down to a superdelegate decision.

    And one more thing: YRRREEEEAAAAHHH!!!


    February 8, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. hd wood

    Sorry folks, didnt realize these comments were going to the same place.

    February 8, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. decepticons84

    In his 1995 autobiography, Obama confessed to experimenting with marijuana and cocaine as a teenager. 😮

    February 8, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Joe

    Obama is McCain's and the Republicans worst night mare ias far as the general election race.

    Why? Because conservatives and Independants actually like him. He has diverse support. Hillary is an easy target if she is the nominee– she has a huge bullseye on her back and the die hard Republican Party can not wait for her to be the nominee. Nothing will reunite the worst part of the Republican party faster.

    February 9, 2008 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  23. Danielle

    Another meaningless poll – this is not a news story.

    February 9, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  24. Bob, DC

    Why still awating moderation??


    Bob, DC February 8, 2008 7:12 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    This does not suprise me at all. In fact, I suspect Barack's advatage will only grow as more people get to know him and understand his message.

    Bob, DC February 8, 2008 7:24 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Another aspect of this is that Hillary will have negative coat-tails for Democrats up for election/relection in Nov 08, especially in the "red" states. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) mentioned recently saying that a Hilary nomination would "hurt" Democrats. This issue is will critical to many of the "super delegates" when deciding who to support.

    February 9, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  25. floydfix

    I'll tell you what its. cool ten years we didnt care as much as nation. now stand up youth of america and united. iam 40n years old and enough is enough. lead our country. the way. it should be for the people by the people. get out and vote

    February 9, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
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