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Zogby: McCain Best for '3 A.M.' Crisis

Monday, 17 Mar 2008 06:45 AM

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The recent Hillary Clinton campaign advertisement asking who Americans want answering the phone in the White House when a crisis erupts at 3 a.m. has sparked a national debate about which candidate would best handle such a phone call. But while the ad was designed to boost the Clinton candidacy, likely voters nationwide say they would feel more secure having Republican John McCain answering the call of a crisis, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.

Given the choice between Clinton and McCain, 55% preferred McCain while 37% would want Clinton to answer the phone, while 9% said they were unsure.

If there is a crisis in the world and the telephone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House, who would you feel more secure answering that phone Hillary Clinton or John McCain?

Hillary Clinton

37%

John McCain

55%

Not sure

9%

Between McCain and Obama, 56% favored McCain while 35% preferred Obama, with 10% saying they couldnt make up their mind on the question.

The ad, which first ran in Texas in the days leading up to the March 4 primary election there, was designed to boost Clinton’s claim that she is more experienced than Obama, a familiar Clinton campaign theme this year. McCain is considered strong on national defense.

If there is a crisis in the world and the telephone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House, who would you feel more secure answering that phone John McCain or Barack Obama?

John McCain

56%

Barack Obama

35%

Not sure

10%

McCain, who calls himself a conservative, makes big inroads across ideological lines on the question, the survey shows, as 25% of the very liberal and 32% of mainline liberals prefer he answer the phone instead of Clinton, and 23% of the very liberal and 35% of mainline liberals prefer him over Obama. Just 15% of conservatives prefer Clinton take the call, and 16% of conservatives would rather have Obama taking a crisis phone call instead of McCain.

The telephone poll using live operators from Zogby’s call center in Upstate New York included 1,004 likely voters nationwide and was conducted March 13-14, 2008. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. Totals in charts may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

The survey shows that among all voters Democrats, Republicans, and independents there is a near-equal preference for Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to answer a crisis phone call as President. When given the choice between them, 37% preferred Clinton, while 36% preferred Obama. Another 27% of all voters said they were unsure.

But among just Democrats, Clinton is preferred by 48%, compared to 38% of Democrats who said they would rather have Obama answer the phone. Among just Democrats, 14% said they were unsure.

If there is a crisis in the world and the telephone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House, who would you feel more secure answering that phone Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?

Hillary Clinton

37%

Barack Obama

36%

Not sure

27%

Among all voters regardless of partisan affiliation, in the race between Obama and Clinton, Obama is favored by a wide 49% to 32% margin among the very liberal, while mainline liberals favored Clinton by a 50% to 38% edge. Among moderates, Clintons edge is 44% to 34%, while conservatives preferred Obama, 39% to 36% for Clinton, with the rest of conservatives declining to make a choice.

And among all voters, women favored Clinton over Obama by a 42% to 34% margin, with 24% unsure. Men favored Obama, 38% to 32%, with 30% undecided.

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