Clinton Leads McCain in AP Poll

The most recent AP/Ipsos poll shows Hillary Clinton well ahead of John McCain, and AP’s staff is using this to bolster Clinton’s campaign.

Hillary Rodham Clinton now leads John McCain by 9 points in a head-to-head presidential matchup, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that bolsters her argument that she is more electable than Democratic rival Barack Obama. Obama and Republican McCain are running about even.

The survey released Monday gives the New York senator and former first lady a fresh talking point as she works to raise much-needed campaign cash and persuade pivotal undecided superdelegates to side with her in the drawn-out Democratic primary fight.

Helped by independents, young people and seniors, Clinton gained ground this month in a hypothetical match with Sen. McCain, the GOP nominee-in-waiting. She now leads McCain, 50 percent to 41 percent, while Obama remains virtually tied with McCain, 46 percent to 44 percent.

Both Democrats were roughly even with McCain in the previous poll about three weeks ago.

If there has been a nine point swing in three weeks, the most obvious conclusion is that 1) there’s something wrong with the polling method or 2) the thing being measured is in such flux as to be not worth measuring at this point. These are not, incidentally, mutually exclusive.

The latest RealClearPolitics aggregation shows that both Obama and Clinton are running essentially even with McCain but tending slightly ahead:

Head to Head Polls Democrats vs John McCain 28 APRIL 2008

Considering that AP/Ipsos is included in the averages — and seems to be the outlier — it’s even closer than that.

Beyond the polls, my gut tells me that both Democrats are slightly ahead of McCain right now. He supports an unpopular war and is of the same party as the current, decidedly unpopular, president. At the same time, the general election campaign has yet to start. It’s simply too early to get very excited about these polls, especially when there isn’t even a “likely voter” screen applied to them. And, certainly, there’s no reason to base the selection of a party presidential nominee on them.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    An interesting look at the polls is the hedgehog reports. That tracks the EV based on the last poll (yes there are issues with that methodology, but this far out it isn’t totally unreasonable).

    This shows McCain beating Obama 295 EV to 243EV. Compared to 2004, the switches would seem to be in the realm of the possible. Colorado and Iowa flip to the dems, NH and PA flip to the GOP.

    The same methodology shows McCain losing to Hillary by a similar margin, 244 EV for McCain and 294 for Hillary. It has the dems picking up Florida, Ohio, Missouri and West Virginia while the GOP picks up NH and Michigan.

    So as expected, the race looks very different based on who is running. The big difference can also be seen in the democratic primary. Obama would let the GOP flip PA and hold on to Ohio. This makes a certain level of sense given Obama’s trouble getting votes with anyone who actually works for a living. Hillary would hold PA and flip Ohio and Florida. I’m not sure that Hillary would take Florida, but it is more in line with the national ‘mood’.




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  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Under the circumstances that McCain is even close to either Obama or Clinton tells you how weak both candidates are. A strong Democratic candidate should be running away with this race.




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  3. sam says:

    Under the circumstances that McCain is even close to either Obama or Clinton tells you how weak both candidates are. A strong Democratic candidate should be running away with this race.

    I wonder how much of McCain’s closeness is an artifact of the lack of a single Democratic candidate to confront him at this time.




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  4. jainphx says:

    And we put faith in the AP for anything. Not sure since I never read anything they have to say.




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  5. Patrick T McGuire says:

    If there has been a nine point swing in three weeks, the most obvious conclusion is that 1) there’s something wrong with the polling method or 2) the thing being measured is in such flux as to be not worth measuring at this point.

    And then there’s always Rush’s “Operation Chaos” which can’t be totally discounted here.




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  6. Michael says:

    Under the circumstances that McCain is even close to either Obama or Clinton tells you how weak both candidates are. A strong Democratic candidate should be running away with this race.

    McCain is currently benefiting from not being in the race. Both Obama and Clinton are being attacked and every comment and action analyzed to death, while McCain is not.

    Everyone thought it would be hard for McCain to “stay relevant” during this period, but it seems more like he’s benefiting from the Thompson effect (“We like you better when you’re not running”). If McCain isn’t beating either Dem at this point, things won’t be looking good for him once people start talking about his every comment and action.




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  7. duckspeaker says:

    McCain is currently benefiting from not being in the race. Both Obama and Clinton are being attacked and every comment and action analyzed to death, while McCain is not.

    Exactly right. Alot of independents that would lean Democratic due to unrest regarding the war/economy are resorting to the default answer of McCain when faced with the nonstop intra-Dem bickering and media-fueled scandal du jour. As soon as a nominee becomes clear, the bounce for whichever Dem will be significant. These early polls mean little to nothing.




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