January 12th, 2008
02:01 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: McCain poses greatest threat to Democrats

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican presidential field will face a tough general election fight from the Democrats, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Saturday.

According to the survey, either of the Democratic frontrunners, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York or Barack Obama of Illinois, hold mostly double-digit – and statistically identical - advantages over Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee, drawing more than 50 percent support in each hypothetical matchup.

The Republican candidate who gives Clinton and Obama the closest race in the new poll is Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is essentially tied with both: he draws the support of 48 percent of those surveyed to both Clinton's 50 percent and Obama's 49 percent.

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soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Tim, Minnesota

    Baloney, Ron Paul is a bigger threat than any republican. McCain has too many skeletons

    January 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Dom

    I would definitely vote for Obama.

    But if Hilary gets the nomination, my vote goes to McCain.

    January 12, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. A2

    And, since CNN is blatantly biased, we can all assume that McCain actually is more popular than either.

    January 12, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Adam

    I am a Democrat.

    McCain vs. Clinton, I go with McCain.
    McCain vs. Obama, it depends on the VPs.

    January 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Thomas

    McCain isn't a threat to democrats. He is a very viable alternative to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and I will vote for McCain before I vote either of them.

    I am a democrat, and though I would rather see a democrat win - preferably John Edwards - I see John McCain as the best alternative to Barack and Hillary we've got.

    John McCain is squarely on the side of doing something about global warming. He was asked about it at a campaign stop in 2000 and since he didn't know anything about it, he educated himself. Now he understands and wants to do something before it is too late.

    Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton just spew platitudes. Obama's "plan" is a modest decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It will all be over but the crying by 2050. Hillary is in big business' pocket and won't do squat about climate change. She will be as bad as George W. Bush on this topic.

    I'm hoping McCain carries the republican primary as he will be my refuge if Hillary and Obama manage to win for the democrats.

    January 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. jaz

    Yesterday Hillary Clinton announced a proposal to deal with the increasing economic frailty of our country. She advocated a $70 billion emergency spending package and a back-up of a $40 billion tax rebate if economic conditions worsened. Her proposal was serious, substantive and measured. It was a direct attempt to help the most threatened people in America at this time - namely, lower-income families facing foreclosures of their mortgages, those in need of home heating assistance, the unemployed who require extend jobless benefits and aid to alternative energy and environmental programs. Her package of initiatives tells why she is starting to gain in the presidential race - because she is acting rather than talking. She is the only candidate in either party who has come forward with serious remedies for a grave downturn in the American economy. One of the reasons why she won in New Hampshire, in retrospect, was she had earlier helped enact legislation which expanded the economy of that state - and its voters appreciated it. Now she is doing the same for the nation. This is policy over pizzazz.

    January 12, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. s.positive

    The tight race shows I cannot give my vote to a candidate with a high negative as that is a guaranteed lose in the election. Seems common sense for the few that has it will go to one with the lowest negative percentage. Case closed.

    January 12, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Susan, Osterville Mass

    How does John Edwards do in the match-ups?

    January 12, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Karen

    Apparently no. CNN's Lou Dobb's ears might be burning.... I was just watching a replay of Near East Policy (C-Span, I know, I know a place to discuss an issue). The discussion shifted from policy during the questioning, to the election. There was talk around the candidates. A panelist refused to make a prediction. Then Bloomberg (spelling?) was brought up. I got the feeling they felt he did not have a strong vote because he has no policies to run on but would only be able to get into the race and generate enough of a vote based on who the nominies are.

    Two panelists Peter Reinart (New Republic) and Michael Baronr (US News and World Report) both mentioned Lou Dobbs. They felt he would be a much more viable independent candidate. One said he would be a formidable candidate. It was expressed that because he has strong positions on trade, jobs, immigration and the middle class and strong positions could get a strong vote from the middle class.

    January 12, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. charlotte

    I respect Sen McCain, if Obama wins I might vote for McCain. I voted for Regan once.

    January 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. John

    Whether it is Barack, John, or Hillary, they are American patriots who wish to do their best for the American people. I believe they hold in their hearts, a belief that their service will make an impacting difference for the better.

    I have been intrigued and impressed by what has made Hillary “tick” and by her dedication to what she has believed in. One principal example is her understanding and dedication to the cause of children and family (Please read “It Takes A Village To Raise A Child”).

    She was highly criticized because of her phrase “Vast right-wing conspiracy,” when trying to defend her husband. Yet, this was very personal to Hillary. She was defending her husband.

    But, what has been evolving throughout the years? According to A.C. Nielsen, in the US, talk radio is largely made up of conservative political commentators. The top five programs are those of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Neal Boortz, and Glenn Beck. Other top programs: Bill O'Reilly, Jim Quinn, Bill Cunningham, Melanie Morgan, Mike Gallagher and Laura Ingraham. On TV we have Bill O Reilly and Sean Hannity and the FOX channel. Trash Democrats in any type of media and you have a substantial following. Doesn’t Ann Coulter come to mind?

    I believe Hillary has a profound understanding of our evolving history, our country, and the true concerns and needs of all Americans. Pore over Hillary’s past, accomplishments, devotion to serving, and what those who have been close to her say about her, and we would see and feel that we have before us an extraordinary woman and an extraordinary leader.

    It’s my belief that all her life, without her knowing exactly why, Hillary has been preparing herself for this momentous time in history. I pray that she becomes our 44th President.

    January 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Chris, Jacksonville

    I agree, McCain would beat Hillary pretty soundly.

    She is despised (often times for no concrete reason) throughout most of the South and Midwest.

    McCain is genuinely well-liked and moderate enough to attract independents and maybe some Democrats.

    Huckabee would repel almost all independents and educated Republicans and would galvanize the Democrats the most. Most people are just sick and tired of the right wing by now anyway.

    Romney's religion/cult (yes Mormonism is a cult. A really NICE cult, but a cult none the less) will most definately be an issue and well he just has no traction of excitement to him. New Hampshire was his big opportunity and he was a no-show. He is apparantly just a handsome rich dude who fails to wow anyone......so far. He has a boatload of money so I would not rule him out yet.

    Guliani is already out of money and has no made a dent in the elections thus far. He is too unlikable for most folks anyway and some of his past is too ugly for the presidency.

    Thompson is a joke. I almost forgot he was still in the race. Irregardless of how he does in SC.....there is no there there.

    Paul has made no traction either. His candidacy is more of a side show at this point.

    I do think from at least from a freshness standpoint Obama would have a decent shot to win outright against any of the viable Republicans. He is a very strong candidate all things considered.

    That being said, isn't it sad that out of nearly 300 million people, these people are they best we could come up with?

    I do not expect big things from ANY of these people.

    January 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. David, Los Angeles

    Pfft. Are they talking about the John McCain who was just caught on tape saying that he would keep troops in Iraq for "100 years" or "a million years" if necessary. Can the Republicans PLEASE nominate him? Please?

    January 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Natasha B

    This poll reflects what my friends and I have already decided:

    If Obama loses the nomination, we'll be voting for McCain. I just can't stand the divisiveness anymore. Hillary will divide this nation even more than Rove and Co did. Heck, forget the country, just look at the Democratic party...the increasing level of vitriol amongst Democrats is alarming.

    January 12, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Alex Schultheis

    I have been a McCain supporter for 8 years, dating back to 2000 when Bush stole the nomination from him in South Carolina with those nasty tactics on his family. Even though conservatives don't like McCain, the fact of the matter is that, and I am not sexist, but if the conservative base had a choice between Clinton and McCain, they would vote for McCain. The independents would flock to McCain, because Hillary is the most polarizing candidate. And I know that conservatives like Mitt Romney for president, but he's getting blown out by the same guy, Obama, that he says he can "post up" with as I believe he said. The reason McCain would be beat Obama is because people would look at his forehead, and see wisdom wrinkles, not age wrinkles. McCain may be 71, but he sure does not act like it. He is not politics as some would suggest, and that is appealing to democrats. Obama talks about telling the American people "not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear."Well, in the same way, McCain uses his "Straight Talk" to tell people what they need to hear. Both are outside the system. If you look at all the polls in NH, Michigan, and SC, they all say the same thing: McCain is the most honest and trustworthy candidate, has the most leadership skills, particularly serving in the Navy and being a POW (people can resonate with that as the American Dream). The number quality republican voters want in a candidate is someone who stands on his principles, which McCain does. He doesn't flip-flop like Romney or Giuliani. I think that he would pose a serious threat to the democrats. I mean look, here's a guy who was tortured every day for 5 1/2 years in Vietnam. Being tortured ONCE is enough to scare you. Try 5 1/2 years. Twice his captors saw him lying on the ground, literally thinking that he was dead. And now here he is on the verge of winning the nomination of his party and possibly the presidency of the United States of America. It's just a great story, sometimes it brings people to tears. I know it did to me once. He was not only left for dead in his life, this guy was left for dead in the campaign over the summer, when he was down only to about $250,000, and his staffers left him. Now, as the republican candidates take shots at one another, particularly Romney, who by the way is seen as the most polarizing republican candidate, McCain is using his wisdom to dodge the bullets, and guess what: The old man may be the last one standing, while everyone else is dead. Ironic how that works out. Republicans like leaders, they don't like this primary race up in the air like it is, and they will coalesce very, very soon around the candidate who has the most leadership, and that is by far and away McCain. John McCain for president in 2008! God Bless

    January 12, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Alex Schultheis

    Also, McCain has not had surgery on some of the bones that were broken in his body while being tortured. Right now, as he campaigns, he has broken bones in his jaw, which explains why it looks crooked, but he's still able to get his talk straight hahaha. He also has a slight fracture in his arm or his leg, making it very painful for him to walk. Those bones have not been repaired, he has not sought surgery for them, and fights on like a tough SOB who wants to kick ass. I think that he has more strength walking around with broken bones in his body than the terrorists do. If he had his choice, he would put on a military suit right now, and go kick ass. Republicans, and Americans in general like that kind of security factor. He is a tremendous leader, and will lead us to victory in Iraq. People notice this, and they say "How can you carry on in such a manner?" and he justs perseveres over all the obstacles in his life that have come his way. God Bless Him.

    January 12, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Patty D.

    Well what do you know, another poll. The media's reliance on these blasted things really irk me. This is another attempt to sway the voters. The fact is many are looking at John McCain because Rudy and Thompson screwed up by not going to Iowa and New Hampshire. And Romney's attempt to buy the presidency is turning people off. Then you have Huckabee, who doesn't believe in evolution. A lack luster list, indeed.

    January 12, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Curtis

    John McCain and Barack Obama both draw a lot of independent voters into the field, it doesn't surprise me that McCain would be the strongest candidate. Of all the Republican candidates, he's the only one that strikes me as a pretty decent guy.

    I don't know if he has the energy surrounding his campaign though to mobilize his base and take on the Democrats...

    January 12, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. J, Ca

    To Susan, Osterville Mass
    How does John Edwards do in the match-ups?

    I thought only supporter Edwards has by now (other than his wife) is that Plumber from desperate housewives.

    January 12, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. AnnAloha, PA Independent Thinker

    Please tell these Ballot Bowl reporters to stop comparing registered hispanic voters in Las Vegas and whether having spanish language in the Obama and Clinton camps as a negative to South Carolina's Illegal Immigration issue's...and whether or not it will hurt Obama and Clinton in South Carolina.
    Can this get anymore rediculous?

    January 12, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. Mikey

    I don't know HOW McCain (even though he's the sanest Republican in my opinion) can do so well in those match-ups, about half a year ago his campaign was about to collapse. Now he's bounced back. :S
    Can anyone fill me in?

    January 12, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. Gary

    Senator McCain would bring real adult leadership to our country. His experience, as well as his character, exceed all other presidential candidates still in the race.I haven't felt this way about a presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in1980.

    January 12, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Joe, VT

    Mc Cain trumps the rest of the GOP field on the character issue. If the "surge" in Iraq holds, watch out. Like Natasha B above, if Clinton grabs the Democratic nomination, this household will have two votes for McCain. It's time to end division, race baiting (yes you, "fairytale Bill") and finally get going on some bi-partisan solutions to campaign finance reform and a whole lot more.

    January 12, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Tom Davie

    In my honest opinion

    McCain is 71 years old and looks it. He is a nice guy, and a war hero.

    He certainly will win the republican base, but will not Beat Obama nor Clinton with the independents. He really looked silly on the immigration reform and doesnt seem to know much about economics.

    American people have the LUXURY of thinking about Taliban or flexing our muscle in the days of PRINTING UP MONEY out of the blue to pay for it all.

    Now that it has WRECKED our economy, we start to realize we could NEVER AFFORD it in the first place.

    As we get closer to election time, its going to be a harder and harder sell to keep printing up money for wars . Americans are going into a DEEP recession.

    Who is infamously known as the guy who has proven to turn that around ?

    Bill Clinton.

    January 12, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Carrie

    As a democrat, if it was between McCain and Clinton, I would vote for McCain.

    Obama/Edwards 08

    January 12, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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