Survey says: Clinton or Obama will beat McCain

posted at 5:15 pm on March 6, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

That is, if the election gets held this week. Survey USA interviewed 600 registered voters in each of the 50 states, and it has published the Electoral College vote based on the results. Hillary Clinton edges John McCain by a mere 14 votes, while Obama tops him by 22. However, Survey USA has some caveats:

There are specific limitations to this exercise. The winner’s margin in each state is not always outside of the survey’s margin of sampling error. Rather than show states where the results are inside of the margin of sampling error as “leaning” or “toss-ups,” SurveyUSA for this illustration assigned Electoral Votes to the candidate with the larger share of the vote, no matter how small the winner’s margin. The Democratic nominee is not yet known. Running mates on neither side are known. These are not surveys of likely voters, these are surveys of registered voters.

Indeed, some of these states have undecideds that far outstrip the margins of error. Michigan, for instance, has Obama beating McCain only 46-45 and New Hampshire 46-44. Nevada goes Obama 46-41, with apparently 13% undecided. Virginia is 47-all, but the pollster gave the state to Obama.

It does give a handy baseline for people to consider when predicting how states will fall. However, the use of registered voters rather than likely voters diminishes the predictive value of this exercise. Republicans tend to be better about coming to the polls, which makes Democratic strength somewhat overstated in polls that don’t focus on likely voters. Survey USA at least admits these limitations, which is a refreshing change.

We have plenty of time for opinions to change. The electoral math will almost certainly change along with it.


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Wouldn’t be too worried. If Ohio flips in either case, McCain wins. In fact, if any state worth 10 EVs flips to the Republicans and the others remain the same, McCain wins.

Vizzini on March 6, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Let’s let the Dems beat on each other for awhile.

bnelson44 on March 6, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Well, Dukakis led Bush 41 at one point by 16 points, so I’d say we shouldn’t take polls this early too, too seriously.

CP on March 6, 2008 at 5:23 PM

It is simply too early to take a poll like this seriously. There is too much time between now and the conventions and the general election not to mention too much campaigning still to take place .

Wildcatter1980 on March 6, 2008 at 5:23 PM

Let’s let the Dems beat on each other for awhile.

bnelson44 on March 6, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Heh, I agree, I like a good cat-fight…

Liberty or Death on March 6, 2008 at 5:24 PM

As of right now…this day…all the rah rah beat the drum aside….I’d only give us a 40% chance of pulling this out.
Ask me again tomorrow. Maybe Johnny Mac will drop Osama’s bones on the capitol steps and the odds will change.

Limerick on March 6, 2008 at 5:24 PM

Helloooo Oh CHOSEN ONE - Where are you?

BWAAAHAHHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAH HHAHAHAHAH BWHAHAHAH

stenwin77 on March 6, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Nothing to worry about here. Maverick has a score to settle with conservatives. Let the Dems wreck the country without Maverick’s help.

Oops, I forgot he is not resigning his Senate seat so he can continue to destroy the country by reaching across the aisle after losing the presidency.

Valiant on March 6, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Ask me again tomorrow. Maybe Johnny Mac will drop Osama’s bones on the capitol steps and the odds will change.

Limerick on March 6, 2008 at 5:24 PM

That made a chill run up my leg.

mikeyboss on March 6, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Well, Dukakis led Bush 41 at one point by 16 points, so I’d say we shouldn’t take polls this early too, too seriously.

CP on March 6, 2008 at 5:23 PM

These polls this far out are meaningless.

Wait until one of the dems lose and some of them defect to McCain.

Chakra Hammer on March 6, 2008 at 5:28 PM

Obama nor Hillary will win Ohio or Florida.

Theworldisnotenough on March 6, 2008 at 5:31 PM

We have plenty of time for opinions to change. The electoral math will almost certainly change along with it.

Exactly. It doesn’t matter that McCain loses to Obama in a March 2008 poll. What matters is that Obama is glaringly, obviously, stupendously unqualified for the job of POTUS.

Enrique on March 6, 2008 at 5:34 PM

stenwin77 on March 6, 2008 at 5:25 PM

You’re all ready to take these numbers to the bank. Reagan was behind Mondale/Carter coming out of the conventions. Zogby had Bush losing to Kerry by about 50 electoral votes just a few days out.

amerpundit on March 6, 2008 at 5:34 PM

Actually I would argue that these polls arent completely meaningingless.

THe dems are usually far ahead this time in the game. They get fired up early and then fade. Its good that they arent far ahead yet

William Amos on March 6, 2008 at 5:37 PM

I remember when he Mac was ready to be eliminated from the primaries. Surveys….meh.

TBinSTL on March 6, 2008 at 5:39 PM

I hope every poll, for awhile, shows Jaun McCain trailing. He doesnt need to get anymore complacent.

Vigilante on March 6, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Survey USA is not reliable. First, 600 completes is not nearly a large enough statisical sample.

Second, they have not announced the number of required call backs, or forced conversions, the demographics or the quotas.

Really, you should not even post stuff that is so meaningless and unscientific

georgealbert on March 6, 2008 at 5:43 PM

I’m amazed that Clinton polled better than McCain in Florida. Does anyone really expect the Democrats to win Florida?

Also, this won’t hold for the general election. The right-leaning Western states will not go for Obama once his policies get more press and attention during the general election.

It is interesting though that despite everything, McCain would win both these matchups by turning one state – Ohio against Obama and Florida against Clinton – both of which have historically gone GOP.

JDScott on March 6, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Why are polls treated as news? Even exit polls, which ask people what they just did, are notoriously unreliable. Yet a poll asking people what they will do at some point in the future makes headlines. Most polls I see have sample sizes smaller than the average high school, and they are often within the margin of error. This tells us…..?

It’s lazy and pointless. It treats pure speculation as hard news. I don’t get it and never have. Yet polls only seem to proliferate. Then people are shocked when reality doesn’t reflect the polling, and assume somehow the reality is wrong.

It boggles my mind.

token on March 6, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Two things: The election isn’t held today, and as we know, a lot can happen from now til November…and 600 people from 50 states is hardly reliable. What’s that, 12 people from each state?

The Dem v. GOP battle is just barely beginning. And when the McCain-deranged faction of the conservatives finally quit their temper-tantrum and aim their vitriol at the opposing party, nothing will stop McCain.

JetBoy on March 6, 2008 at 5:44 PM

stenwin77 on March 6, 2008 at 5:25 PM
You’re all ready to take these numbers to the bank. Reagan was behind Mondale/Carter coming out of the conventions. Zogby had Bush losing to Kerry by about 50 electoral votes just a few days out.

amerpundit on March 6, 2008 at 5:34 PM

Before I get attacked by everyone. THE CHOSEN ONE has been stating polls showing McCain ahead for at least 3 weeks. I have constantly pointed out that these are absolutely worthless so far in advance.

Anyone who counts on election polling data 8 months out is driving their Hummer on paper thin ice.

That’s all. I don’t want the dems to win – but TCO seems to think this is going to be a waltz for John McAARP to the WH… I disagree. I think it will be a bettle the likes of which we have never seen.

stenwin77 on March 6, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Uhm. What was the breakdown? Dems, Repubs, Inds? Adults, likely voters, registered voters?

misterpeasea on March 6, 2008 at 5:45 PM

stenwin77 on March 6, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Right here. Glad to see your having some fun at my expense. After the last two months, it’s good to see you get a little payback.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 6, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Wait a minute. So this is basically a statistical tie. This just confirms what I’ve been saying, which is he’s withing the margin of error. Ok, he’s down a few tiny wheeny points. We have the head to head debates, Billary and Jesus part two are still ripping each other apart, and everyone knows that the closer we get to the general, Mav’s foreign policy experience will pay dividends.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 6, 2008 at 5:59 PM

No surprise here. McCain is a loser in November, with or without conservative support.

Without much discussion of issues, Obama has been able to use emotional oratory to draw countless new followers to his campaign as he offers “hope” and “a future”. Surprisingly, many of these new supporters cannot even list his positions on the issues at all, but say simply, “We need an inspiring leader.” Indeed, when a Texas congressman supporting Obama was recently asked on TV to list Obama’s legislative accomplishments in the US Senate, there was a long period of uncomfortable silence, followed by “It doesn’t matter. He inspires Americans.”

Michelle Obama, Barack’s wife has, of course, been campaigning for her husband. However, her speeches of support have often gone over the top. For example: “Barack knows that at some level there’s a hole in our souls and we need some inspiration,” she said. “That’s why I’m here because I know Barack is different.” Michelle Obama explained: “Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.”

Such messianic words are frightening when accompanied by such vast numbers of Americans beginning to march behind Obama with “glazed over eyes” in lockstep. Here at [name removed] we have been doing counter-cult ministry for a long time. This political movement appears to have many of the hallmarks of other religious cults. Be warned.

By the way, Barack Obama does have a voting record, though relatively short. His votes have ranked him recently as having the most liberal voting record in the US Senate, even to the left of self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

March 2008 newsletter of counter-cult ministry

I’ve been trying to tell people that the only Republican who can defeat Obama is Mike Huckabee. Obama is a cult leader, not a Messiah (which is translated the Christ), and the only way to win is with someone who understands how to beat them.

Red Pill on March 6, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Obama has recently called Hillary the most secretretive politician ever. In other words, he is calling her what the Dems used to call Dick Cheney.

So now Hillary has resorted to calling Obama, Ken Starr. I expect it won’t be long until Obama calls her Scooter Libby and Hill counters by calling him Richard Nixon. It’s like they’re running for Middle School Class President.

I can’t wait to see a poll after six months of this sandbox behavior. McCain must be taking all of this in with a Cheshire Cat grin on his face.

Hey, anyone notice how the MSM boys and girls are dropping heavy hints that BHO and HRC have to work things out …. and soon? Libs looking out for libs. The whole thing just cracks me up.

fogw on March 6, 2008 at 6:03 PM

This poll has Juan beating Cackles in both Oregon and Washington. That does not seem likely.

MB4 on March 6, 2008 at 6:09 PM

McCain has a good chance, if he takes advantage of it, but it appears he won’t. He shouldn’t make Obama or Clinton look like cut and runners, that doesn’t divide the land in his favor. He should make them look like people who will not leave immediately, which they won’t, whose rhetoric is misleading by saying that they will leave quickly, thus rendering them confusing and incoherent. Look at how the NAFTA thing hurt Obama. Incoherence is easier to beat then absolutes, it also makes the incoherent one appear as a novice.

That said, I hate McDole. He probably will feebly bounce along, with his predictable and nauseating speeches. I wouldn’t have liked Teddy Roosevelt for a President and I won’t like him now. The Dems brand of globalism actually looks decent relative to the Unipolar globalism of the Neoconservatives for the short term because it would be less costly, most storytellers tell ghost stories to children, not other adults, so the sky will not fall. However, their domestic programs would be horrible and Obama’s foreign aid fire sale would be very costly.

Basically we are screwed either way by people who seem determined on both sides to make us mediocre and destitute.

LevStrauss on March 6, 2008 at 6:13 PM

Yeah, well, just remember that polls and surveys also said Giuliani would be the likely Republican nominee.

Amy Proctor on March 6, 2008 at 6:15 PM

I’ve been trying to tell people that the only Republican who can defeat Obama is Mike Huckabee.

Red Pill on March 6, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Thanks…I needed a good chuckle

JetBoy on March 6, 2008 at 6:16 PM

Red Pill on March 6, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Obama inspires me, too.

He inspires me to vote for someone else.

AZCoyote on March 6, 2008 at 6:18 PM

And what makes this any more accurate or fair than the Washington Post poll which was dissected in an earlier thread?

TooTall on March 6, 2008 at 6:20 PM

While Huck wouldn’t be the only Republican that can beat Obama, I think he would have a better chance than McCain.

Huck’s good with evangelicals, strong in the south, likeable, just as eloquent, if not more in speeches than Obama, and much more eloquent in debates than Obama. He has also shown that though he comes off sometimes like Gomer Pyle, he can still cut it in the mainstream. Side by side, he would make Obama look as boring as Kerry. He also muddies the water with his populist rhetoric. And though he was lukewarm on the issue, he would make illegal immigration more of an issue than McCain ever could. Look at the facts, both McCain and Huck would be horrible for this country, so why not find the best player that could win. Instead we picked the old man whose time was eight years ago.

LevStrauss on March 6, 2008 at 6:24 PM

I don’t trust polls anymore. You get a select number of people out there, a good percentage of them are going to say they’re supporting one candidate, then turn around and vote for someone else. Exit polls especially are never to be trusted. Half the people ask lie just to throw the poll off and make whoever winds up reporting the results look like an ass. Chicago voters especially have pretty much made this a tradition.

pilamaye on March 6, 2008 at 6:27 PM

Just went to Polling Report-the head to head polls are all over the place.

And we’ve seen how wrong some of the polls have been just in the past 2 months-one poll had Hillary beating Obama in Iowa by double digits, and Hillary was supposed to lose in New Hampshire.

And some of the other recent polls are just as crazy-Pew had one come out a couple of weeks ago that claimed that more Americans trusted the Dems to run the Iraq war more than they trusted the Repubs.

The only recent polls I could find that seemed to be based in reality were the ones that showed that Americans trust our US military more than any other “American institution”. Coming in dead last: Reid and Pelosi’s Congress.

Del Dolemonte on March 6, 2008 at 7:22 PM

The reference to Scooter Libby is interesting. Patrick Fitzgerald, who prosecuted Libby, is now prosecuting Rezko. What goes around, comes around…

Steve Z on March 6, 2008 at 7:33 PM

and 600 people from 50 states is hardly reliable

it was 600 from each state

not that that means anything at this point

I like Johnny Mac’s chances vs either one in head to head debates

windansea on March 6, 2008 at 7:34 PM

The reference to Scooter Libby is interesting. Patrick Fitzgerald, who prosecuted Libby, is now prosecuting Rezko. What goes around, comes around…

Steve Z on March 6, 2008 at 7:33 PM

and the judge in the trial is the same one who put Conrad Black away

lefties will turn into pretzels demonizing this trial

windansea on March 6, 2008 at 7:36 PM

“Republicans tend to be better about coming to the polls”

Not this year. Democrats will have a turnout advantage. They’re all fired up. Witness their heavy turnout in the Dem primaries, and in 2006.

daryl_herbert on March 6, 2008 at 7:44 PM

Why are polls treated as news? Even exit polls, which ask people what they just did, are notoriously unreliable. Yet a poll asking people what they will do at some point in the future makes headlines. Most polls I see have sample sizes smaller than the average high school, and they are often within the margin of error. This tells us…..?

It’s lazy and pointless. It treats pure speculation as hard news. I don’t get it and never have. Yet polls only seem to proliferate. Then people are shocked when reality doesn’t reflect the polling, and assume somehow the reality is wrong.

It boggles my mind.

token on March 6, 2008 at 5:43 PM

It’s a valid question, and the only answer is that it is to drive public opinion a certain way, NOT to inform the voters. A poll is plucked from the air, then broadcast from the loudest speaker, and repeated enough, along with a “storyline” so that it becomes “true”, it’s a style of Propaganda.

Chakra Hammer on March 6, 2008 at 7:51 PM

Not this year. Democrats will have a turnout advantage. They’re all fired up. Witness their heavy turnout in the Dem primaries, and in 2006.

daryl_herbert on March 6, 2008 at 7:44 PM

primary turnout does not translate to votes in the fall.

Chakra Hammer on March 6, 2008 at 7:52 PM

Survey says: Clinton or Obama will beat McCain

I’m prepared for a democrap president. Have been for months. I will be surprised if Open Borders McCain finishes within 5 points of either of them.

Zorro on March 6, 2008 at 8:02 PM

Polls before Labor Day are absolutely meaningless.

jgapinoy on March 6, 2008 at 8:45 PM

Zorro

McCain will win easily. He will portray Obama as a Rezko-tainted liberal extremist novice.

jgapinoy on March 6, 2008 at 8:47 PM

I’m prepared for a democrap president. Have been for months. I will be surprised if Open Borders McCain finishes within 5 points of either of them.

Zorro on March 6, 2008 at 8:02 PM

Agreed. Like it or not, Republicans are on the defensive this election, and having someone like McCain, who exemplifies many of the reasons why that is, as the nominee doesn’t help matters.

Grayson on March 6, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Agreed. Like it or not, Republicans are on the defensive this election, and having someone like McCain, who exemplifies many of the reasons why that is, as the nominee doesn’t help matters.

Grayson on March 6, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Oh really?
McCain fought against the out of control spending and pork-barrel earmarks, fought against the failed strategies in Iraq, and for the Surge in Iraq that is now working..

He has worked across the aisle, we will be seeing an extremist liberal democrat who doesn’t know how to compromise with a democrat controlled house and senate, against a Moderate-Conservative Republican that has made compromise his middle name.

This election will be won in the center and the center rejects the extreme and unreasonable, and an extreme liberal , with democrats controlling both houses of congress with no checks and balances.

Is not a very good change, nor a wise decision to make.

Chakra Hammer on March 6, 2008 at 10:25 PM

This is a time of war, not a time for folly.

Chakra Hammer on March 6, 2008 at 10:27 PM

I have to laugh at those of you who think Huckabee would be a better choice regarding illegal immigration. Huckabee and McCain were cut using the same cookie cutter. Both of them say they’ve now seen the light when it comes to illegals, but if you want to know how Huckabee really feels about it, Google Huckabee/LaRaza. He was all too willing to call those of us who are concerned about illegal immigration racists and bigots, shades of Miss Lindsay Graham.

Those of you who think McCain will blow the Dem candidate away; well, I wish I could have what you are smoking. Unless McCain undergoes a personality transplant I fail to see what he can do to “excite” voters. His speech Tuesday night was a snorer…..he’s not much of a public speaker……he’s better than Bush, but who isn’t?

Even taking into consideration ‘pubs who voted for herself on Tuesday, the numbers put up by the Dem candidates are chilling. We keep imagining a food fight between Hill and Obama, but I believe the party elders, i.e. tubby Teddy et al will have a sit down with them both….tell them to make nice and pull it together. If they can make that happen, the GOP will have its’
clock cleaned in November.

poodlemom on March 7, 2008 at 2:33 AM

Captain Ed, your insight and analysis is often stunning, but you need to take a cue from Allahpundit in the captioning department.

In this case, I would have left the second half the sentence unsaid.

If the election was held today, he’d look like this.
–>
If the election was held today

Of course, I’m sure Allahpundit’s had more time to hone his captioning skills to the razor’s edge. :p

Seriously though, keep up the great work. Glad to have you on board, and glad to have you answering relevant questions I didn’t even think to ask.

hatespam on March 7, 2008 at 2:43 AM

Chakra Hammer on March 6, 2008 at 10:27 PM

My word, you’re obnoxious.

Look, I’m not entirely discounting the possibility that McCain will win, but to imply that he’s favored to beat the Democratic candidate in this year’s presidential election is absurd.

He supports a policy of “regularizing” 20 million+ illegal aliens, which two-thirds of the American public viscerally rejects. He supports the continued occupation of Iraq, which most of the American public disagrees with. And he has already pledged not to run any negative, i.e. truthful, advertisements against his sleazy, socialist adversaries.

If McCain wins it’s not because conservative Republicans are going to show up to vote for him-they’re not. Even if they did it still wouldn’t assure his election. The only hope he has is HRC using the Clinton political apparatus to seize the nomination, thus turning off millions of committed Obamatons.

Gerard on March 7, 2008 at 5:18 AM

As a social conservative, I’m not voting for McCain. I didn’t vote for him in our Texas primaries.

He’s a liar with the thoughts of illegal aliens in mind over Americans.

madmonkphotog on March 7, 2008 at 6:21 AM

Survey says: Clinton or Obama will beat McCain

Yeah. I’ve been saying this for 6 months.

Right now, McCain holds a bit of an edge. But as soon as the DNC picks a candidate that will change. Democrats will reunite under their banner, regardless of candidate. But Republicans will remain split.

McCain needs to get his sh… {stuff} together, fast.

McCain, please do two things:

1. Give up your single-minded personal agendas and embrace the greater historical conservative perspectives of the Republican party.

2. Fire your campaign manager. But if you can’t do #1, it won’t matter who your campaign manager is.

Lawrence on March 7, 2008 at 10:49 AM

This election will be won in the center and the center rejects the extreme and unreasonable,…

Chakra Hammer on March 6, 2008 at 10:25 PM

So we are rejecting both the extreme right and extreme left for the extreme center?

Lawrence on March 7, 2008 at 10:52 AM