Tags: McCain | economy | poll

Zogby: McCain Best to Manage Economy

Wednesday, 19 Mar 2008 08:26 AM

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As concerns grow that the U.S. may be facing a recession, likely voters view Hillary Clinton (26%) and John McCain (25%) as the presidential candidates who could best handle the economy, just edging out Barack Obama ( 21%), a recent Zogby International telephone poll shows. Among Democrats, nearly half (48%) believe Clinton would best handle the economy, compared with 35% who believe Obama would do a better job.

On the issue of leadership, McCain and Obama receive near equal support - 34% believe McCain would be best at providing meaningful leadership to the country, while 33% said the same of Obama. Just 16% said Clinton would be best at leading the country. Among Democrats, more than half believe Obama would be the best leader (55%), while half as many (27%) said the same of Clinton. Republicans overwhelmingly view McCain as the candidate best positioned to lead the country (63%), while independents give a slight edge to Obama (33%) over McCain (30%) - half as many independents (16%) view Clinton as the best leader.

Obama comes out far ahead when respondents were asked which candidate would be best at unifying the country - 42% chose Obama, while 25% picked McCain and 13% said Clinton would best at bringing the country together. Democrats overwhelmingly chose Obama (61%) over Clinton (23%) as the candidate they identify with unity. While 44% of Republicans said McCain would be best at unifying the county, nearly half as many 19% believe Obama would be best - just 3% of Republicans believe Clinton would be the best candidate to unify the country.

The Zogby International telephone poll of 1,026 likely voters nationwide was conducted Feb. 22-23, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The survey was conducted before Republican Mike Huckabee exited the race following the March 4 primaries, and included candidate choices of Huckabee, Democrat Mike Gravel and Republican Ron Paul, as well as Clinton, Obama and McCain.

A Zogby International poll in May, 2007 found 82% of likely voters believe American needs a president who is a competent manager. But even as the field of potential candidates has narrowed, likely voters are divided on which of the leading candidates would do the best job competently managing the federal government - McCain was seen as the most competent manager by 30%, while 25% chose Clinton and 22% picked Obama.

Nearly half of Americans - 46% - believe the Iraq war would be best handled under a McCain presidency, while fewer than half as many would prefer Obama's (23%) or Clinton's (18%) leadership when it comes to the war. McCain is an even stronger favorite on the issue of combating terrorism - 49% believe McCain could best combat terrorism, while 21% said the same for Obama and just 14% believe Clinton would do the best job.

John McCain also bests his potential Democratic opponents when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration - nearly one in three Americans (32%) believe McCain would best handle this issue, though 22% favor Obama and 16% Clinton.

Which presidential candidate you think would best handle...

Which presidential candidate you think would best handle...

Clinton

McCain

Obama

Huckabee

Paul

Gravel

Not Sure

The economy

26%

25%

21%

9%

6%

<1%

6%

The Iraq war

18%

46%

23%

3%

2%

1%

7%

Combating terrorism

14%

49%

21%

4%

2%

1%

9%

Improving education

31%

12%

32%

9%

2%

<1%

14%

Improving access to affordable, quality health care

36%

13%

27%

6%

2%

1%

16%

Solving problems with illegal immigration

16%

32%

22%

9%

4%

1%

17%

Providing meaningful leadership to the country

16%

34%

33%

7%

2%

1%

8%

Unifying the country

13%

25%

42%

6%

1%

<1%

13%

Competently managing the federal government

25%

30%

22%

7%

4%

<1%

13%

Both Clinton and Obama have highlighted health care reform in their campaigns, but more Americans believe Clinton (37%) would be the best candidate to improve access to affordable, quality health care than Obama (27%) or McCain (13%).

The leading Democratic candidates are nearly neck-and-neck when it comes to improving education - 32% of likely voters believe the best job would be done by Obama, but nearly as many - 31% - say Clinton would best handle education. Just 12% believe McCain would do the most to improve education.

As likely voters mull their candidate choices and eye the election in November, the vast majority said selecting a candidate who represents their values and issues (92%) trumps selecting a person they believe can win the office (6%). Democrats (9%) are more likely than Republicans (4%) and political independents (5%) to believe more strongly in choosing a candidate who can win.

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