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Zogby Poll: McCain Bests Both Obama, Clinton

Saturday, 15 Mar 2008 05:06 PM

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UTICA, New York – Riding high after locking up his party’s presidential nomination, Republican John McCain of Arizona has moved ahead of both of his potential Democratic Party rivals in a national general election test, the latest Zogby telephone survey shows.

Perhaps profiting from the continuing political battle across the aisle, McCain would defeat Hillary Clinton of New York by six points and Barack Obama of Illinois by 5 points, the survey shows. Clinton and Obama are locked in a tight battle to win the Democratic Party nomination, a fight that has grown nasty at times recently and threatens to continue on all summer long until the party’s national convention in Denver this August.

The telephone survey of 1,001 likely voters nationwide was conducted by live operators calling from Zogby’s call center in Upstate New York on March 13-14, 2008. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.

Prospective General Election Match-up

3-13/14

McCain

45%

Clinton

39%

Nader

6%

Not sure/Someone else

11%

The introduction of long-time activist Ralph Nader into the mix is having an effect on the race, as he wins enough support to make a difference, the poll shows. Nader entered the race recently, charging that there is little difference between the Republican and Democratic parties and their presidential candidates. Using the same argument eight years ago, his presence on the ballot in Florida may well have tipped the presidential election away from Democrat Al Gore and in favor of George W. Bush. His run four years ago yielded less dramatic results, but the political atmosphere has changed since 2004, and may be more favorable for him again, the Zogby survey shows.

In the McCain-Clinton-Nader match-up, McCain leads mainly because of a significant advantage among independents. Among those voters, he wins support from 45%, compared to 28% for Clinton and 15% for Nader. McCain wins 79% support from Republicans, while Clinton wins 75% support from Democrats.

Clinton leads only among those voters under age 30, while McCain leads among all voters over age 30. Nader also does well among the young, winning 12% support among those under age 30. Among men, McCain leads 51% to 33% for Clinton. Among women, Clinton leads, 45% to 40% for McCain. Nader wins 8% among men and 3% among women.

Nader also does particularly well as a third-party candidate among progressives, winning 15% support from the group that would very likely otherwise go to Clinton were he not in the race. At the other end of the ideological scale, he wins 12% among libertarians. He also wins 6% support among both conservatives and liberals.

Prospective General Election Match-up

3-13/14

McCain

44%

Obama

39%

Nader

5%

Not sure/Someone else

11%

In the McCain-Obama-Nader match-up, the independent candidate is having the same effect. Nader wins 15% support among political independents nationwide.

Ideologically, Nader wins 18% support among progressives, and 12% among libertarians. He does less well among mainline conservatives and liberals compared to the match-up including Clinton.

An interesting factor in this race: the inroads McCain has made into Obama’s base and vice versa. McCain wins 19% support from Democrats, while Obama captures just 67% of voters in his own party. Obama wins 15% support among Republicans, compared to 73% for McCain.

As is the case in the McCain-Clinton-Nader contest, Obama wins among voters under age 30, while McCain leads among all voters age 30 and older. Nader wins 15% support among those under age 30, but has little support among older voters.

Among men, McCain leads Obama 48% to 34%, while Obama holds a slim 43% to 41% edge over McCain among women. Nader wins 6% among men and 4% among women.

Pollster John Zogby: “Nader’s presence in the race can potentially turn a lulu of a race into an absolute tizzy. The messages to Democrats are clear – number one, Nader may win enough support to get into the general election debates. Number two, what could be at risk is support among several key constituencies that the Democratic Party candidate will need to win in November, notably younger voters, independents, and progressives.”

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