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. LA

    Sue, Michigan: You can't be serious! Your comment is silly and demonstrates the lack of objectivity on the part of Bush bashers. Your tone is exactly what is wrong in America today. Obama offers a freshness that the country yearns....enought of the idiotic rantings from both sides of the aisle.

    February 9, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. Diane

    Polls are meaningless and predict NOTHING! The only thing they do is promote the candidate that the news station supports. Voters need to vote for the candidate they feel can lead this country, not to vote for who the station says will beat McCain.
    Hillary said it best when she said it took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and it will take a Clinton to clean up after this one, too.
    I don't mind Obama in office, as long as he is Hillary's VP. Let him do some time on Capitol Hill BEFORE we throw him into the most difficult and demanding job in America! I'd vote for him in a future campaign, not this one, though. I don't vote on HYPE and Charisma (Hell, I voted Kerry last time and there is no one more boring than him.) Bottom line, I look at a candidate's experience (resume) before I vote or (hire) that person to lead my country.

    February 9, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. Whitmanesque

    Hilary Clinton as the Democratic nominee is the only factor that could unify the fractured Republican Party. Too much baggage is the price for her "experience".

    Can we afford to have another Scalia/Alito/Thomas-like Supreme Court Justice appointed by a victorious McCain who'll draw back in the morality-riders who remember the Clinton era as a time of ethical bankruptcy?

    Let's try inspiration. The traditional pols' program is not getting it done at home or abroad.

    February 9, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  4. mmy

    Obama=no experience. Will let down our guard and the terrorists will invade the country. He's scary.

    February 9, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. BobW

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

    Hillary is my first choice however."

    So, you are a republican I take it. That being the case, I can understand why you would vote for Hillary. She has been Bush's best friend in the Senate with her votes to go war and manufacture a state of war with Iran. I'm sure Bush and McCain would both like to see Hillary mandate profits for the insurance industry by shoving health care down our throats. Very pro big business.

    Tell you what, do us a favor. Vote for McCain. Barak will take care of him in the fall.

    February 9, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. JMB


    INCIDENT 1: On 1 August 2007, Senator Obama expressed in his speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars his willingness to bomb Pakistani territory in an attempt to eliminate possible al-Qaeda training bases.

    RESULT: American flags were burned in protest in Islamabad, Miranshah, and Karachi. On that occasion, Pakistan's foreign minister, Khursheed Kasuri, told AP, "It's a very irresponsible statement, that's all I can say.”

    LESSON: Even if you don’t completely trust a vital ally (President Musharraf), you don’t publically state that you’re willing to bomb his country.

    INCIDENT 2: During the campaign for the Iowa caucus, Senator Obama stated that he would "stop the import of all toys from China."

    RESULT: An angry response by Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, describing the statement as "unobjective, unreasonable and unfair."

    LESSON: You don’t directly attack the economic interests of a country that’s holding 1 trillion dollars in US treasuries.

    These episodes derive from a total inexperience on foreign policy. But, rest easy America - as Obama claims - his four years living as a child in Indonesia gave him a solid understanding of the world.

    February 9, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  7. ivan

    Barack Obama is the best candidate

    February 9, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. mmy

    What's so dangerous about Clinton, Mohammad ,Baby? Strong woman, strong leader. That intimidates insecure men. Men's issue, not hers.

    February 9, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. mmy

    What's so dangerous about Clinton, Mohammad ,Baby? Strong woman, strong leader. That intimidates insecure men. Men's issue, not hers.

    February 9, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  10. Anna

    This is so wrong. I've heard too many people, staunch Democrats, tell me that if it's a contest between Obama and McCain, it will be the first time they've ever voted for a Republican President – they'll be voting for McCain.

    February 9, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. june hall

    There you go again,hyping Obama!!!!Hillary is going to win ,because there is enough of us smart old women to put her over the top.Obama has nothing to offer this messed up Govt.It will take Hillary to fix it.She has the brains and know-how.Hillary is a lady,in spite of all the negative remarks by her opponents,she will come through.I have confidence in her.We do not know Obama at all.I see nothing about him that impresses me. June Hall

    February 9, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. DT

    If Obama and Hillary virtually present the same plan. Why switch to vote for Republican? Give a reason for the switch. There are examples of Presidents that entered office with fewer years of experience. He has more experience as an elected official than HRC. Could it be his age? Education? Intelligence? His race?

    February 9, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  13. MR

    I think McCain will definitely win if Obama is the Democratic nominee, because the main reason Hillary supporters won't vote for Obama is because they don't believe he has enough experience, and you can't change that FACT between now and November.

    If Hillary wins the nomination, Obama supporters simply need to get over it emotionally, and go back to church and God for hope and inspiration (many studies support this relationship – more so than an overt figure).

    February 9, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. Mike, St. Paul MN

    The fact that over 50% of the country WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR HILLARY is well documented. And the fact that this is still unclear to 50% of voting Democrats is kind of scary. The Democrats needs to not blow this and actually WIN in 2008. You only get there with Obama. Simple math.

    February 9, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  15. Panthers

    obama is a great guy.

    February 9, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. Melanie

    Honestly, people, do you really think that if Hillary is against McCain she will win? Boy that is wishful thinking. This country is more prepared for another man, even if he is black, then a woman!. If it comes down to Hillary vs McCain, McCain will win, and I will move to Canada (or maybe back to France).

    February 9, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |

    Question from an Independent:

    If HIllary Clinton has "35 years" of experience in the community or providing "solutions for america." How does she afford a 5 million dollar loan? Where is she getting that money from? According to Bill, "He will not donate money to her campaign." So as a Senator and a public servant, how does she have that kind of money? We know Mitt Romney was a venture capitalist. But she has "35 years of experience" helping the public.

    This should be looked into. Her tax forms should be released at least.

    From VA
    Deciding to vote Feb 12 for Hillary or Obama....

    February 9, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. Peter Damoah-Afari

    It is clear to everyone now that Obama is the choice. Hillary should throw in the towel in an honourable manner like what Edwards and Rommey did.

    God bless Obama!!!!

    February 9, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  19. C. Minneapolis.

    Anyone who says they will vote for McCain, remember one thing. When you get your "save the economy check" in May that will be the last time you will ever get anything good from the government once McCain gets in office. When he keeps this war going for 100 YEARS(he wont even live that long) your children, nephews, neices etc... will suffer because of your stupidity. Here we have this idiot for a President destroying our country, and you want to let this guy wiz by with the presidency. Look how hard Clinton and Obama are working for your votes. McCain is just winning on the Republican side because he dosent really have any competition( That dosent say much for the Republican party now does it). So you would rather support a loser in McCain than support either Dem who is not your favorite. All the donations you sent in, all the volunteers who want their country back, all the people who are really taking this serious, while you guys sit on the internet all day and argue like some kids in a popularity contest.

    SO you say giving your vote to Obama would be a waste well guess what. Your Vote for McCain will be a waste to because in each Primary election we have had so far the Democratic voters have turned out 5x over the Republican voters.

    well except for you that is if Obama wins the nominee. How sad is that going to be losing to Obama even though you tried to vote against him. with that being said my choice is this:

    1. Obama(100% supprt)
    2. Clinton(Even though I question her ethics, and her greed for power)
    3. NOBODY(I wont be part of McCain's obsession with war so he can get revenge on the rest of the world because he was a POW).


    February 9, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  20. blair

    Democrat or Republican I have always voted for the best candidate not the party. I must admit over the 44 years I have voted it has been mostly Democrat.
    However if Obama is the Democrat runner I will vote for someone else to try to keep him from getting into the white house. Obama is not qualified in any way to run this country.
    I pray the young people can see beyond the wild Music and Hype that the media has surrounded him with and vote for the best qualified person, be it a Democrat or Republican or Independent.

    February 9, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. Blayze Kohime

    Why do people think Hillary has more experience because she was a President's wife? If Bush's wife ran would you make that argument? Both Hillary and Obama are Senators, and Obama has ~more~ experience dealing with foreign people, which gives him the advantage in a world that, quite frankly, ~hates~ the USA.

    February 9, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. Morris Lieske

    McCain will lose in the worst landslide in U.S. History against either Clinton or Obama. He is losing support rapidly, but will never give up now so, the Republicans will battle all the way to the convention. Pundits will put the blame on Huckabee but it should rest squarely with McCain. He is too old for the very difficult job he is running for and he should have known it.

    February 9, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Bruce

    Hillary Clinton – the ONLY "CHANGE" I want! One that's proven and states what she means – not just a lot of Obama-Drama!

    February 9, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. justobserve

    Experience was not a factor for the Clintons to win Arkansas governorship so it should be so with Obama. The Clintons are too divisive to be in the White House again. Character counts.

    February 9, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. CollegeMan

    Please think about it and vote for Obama. Hillary has too much baggage and if she has a lot then her husband will bring some to. People think that if you vote for her then you wont get him... They are MARRIED PEOPLE! I want somebody who owes nobody nothing. Thats OBAMA! People keep sayn he should try back in 8 yrs or 16 yrs... My question is WHY? Whats the diffrence between now and later? We need HELP last year. He is the person for the change right now... They are already talkn about if she wins the nomination and moves back into the white house. The REPUBLICANS are already talkn about gettin the house and the senate back in two years. That means she will jus be sittin there in the white house for the next two doin NOTHING... REPUBLICANS dnt like her and they will stand in the way of anything she tries to do. SHE WILL NOT UNITE NOTHING... SHE WILL NOT BE PRODUCTIVE... REMEBER THEY ARE ALREADY PLANNIN TO BLOCK EVERYTHING SHE PUTS BEFORE THEM. I want a winner and somebody who is already bringin the country together and thats OBAMA!

    February 9, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
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