A new Zogby poll suggests that John McCain has capitalized on his rivals’ ongoing combat, beating both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a hypothetical matchup. But Ralph Nader also did better than expected, with 5 to 6 percent of the vote, mostly from progressives and independents. Those are two groups that will be crucial to any chance of a Democratic victory over McCain, whose success in the poll comes despite mounting national concern over the economy.
Update: A new Gallup poll shows both Democrats beating McCain.
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.
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.
AP photo / Gerald Herbert
All alone: McCain is most likely benefiting from the fact that his opponent—whoever that turns out to be—has to fight a political war on two fronts.