According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Americans want the next president to be a Democrat, by a whopping 13-point margin. But when asked about the candidates by name, John McCain pulls into a statistical tie with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Even though only 31 percent of voters say McCain agrees with them on the issues, many have a positive view of him, including the majority of Republicans who say they’d rather have another nominee.

It’s hard to imagine another Republican candidate able to overcome that large an unfavorable view of their party, which is why The Wall Street Journal says McCain gives Republicans “a fighting chance.”

(h/t: Political Wire)

Wall Street Journal:

Measures of the candidates’ appeal in the poll help explain why Democrats nationally are deadlocked between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. While Sen. Clinton has an edge with voters on experience and leadership, Sen. Obama rates higher than ever on traits such as likability that reflect a greater connection with voters.

[…] A couple findings in the new poll capture how conflicted Americans are. By a 13-point margin, 50% to 37%, registered voters say they would prefer a Democrat to be elected president. When asked to choose specifically between Arizona Sen. McCain and either Democrat, the results in each case are a statistical tie.

Illinois Sen. Obama edges Sen. McCain by 47% to 44%, while Sen. Clinton, of New York, beats the Republican by a near-identical 47% to 45%. The poll, which surveyed 1,012 registered voters March 7-10, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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