According to the latest Zogby poll, Barack Obama is the only Democratic Presidential candidate who would beat all five of the top Republican candidates in the general election. Zogby’s poll of 1,000 likely voters nationwide shows Hillary Clinton losing to John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee, and John Edwards failing against both Giuliani and McCain. Conducted December 12th-14th, the poll has a margin of error of +/-3.2%.
What’s most interesting to me here is not only that Obama is the only Democrat shown to win in all five of the most likely potential general election contests, but that Edwards would win against Huckabee while Hillary would lose that matchup. This seems to indicate that while Clinton may have more sheer star power than Edwards on the national stage, his message and public image may be resonating more with American voters than Clinton’s, significantly more than many, including myself, had previously believed.
Also quite interesting is that it now seems possible, perhaps even likely, that more Americans are willing to vote for Obama, an African-American, than Clinton, a woman. This flies in the face of what many have believed up until now, that Obama’s race would cost him more potential votes than Clinton’s gender would cost her. On the other hand, it does make a kind of twisted sense when you think about it. Many in the religious right still subscribe to the notion that a woman’s place is in a subservient role to her husband, yet discrimination against Black Americans no longer holds the kind of perceived religious validity it once did in this country. Factor in the strong current anti-Bush/GOP sentiment among Americans in general and the common perception of Clinton as the candidate of the corporate establishment big-money liberals, and the results of this poll really don’t seem all that surprising.
Of course, the usual caveats about placing too much faith in polling numbers do apply as always, but I think this poll, combined with Obama’s recent Oprah-fueled surge in Iowa, may well indicate that it’s he, and not Hillary Clinton, who may now be the true Democratic frontrunner in this race. With electability as much of an issue for voters as it is, and with Clinton’s high negatives seeming to indicate that she’d be just too divisive a candidate to win the White House against a strong GOP candidate, it just might be enough to earn Obama the nomination.
Considering how the Clinton campaign seems to have recently gone on a Hillary charm offensive, it seems they’re well aware that not only have a significant percentage of voters not really warmed up to Clinton on a personal level, but that her being perceived as cold and aloof, especially when combined with those who actively dislike her personally, such as Clinton-hating GOP voters disenchanted with the their own Party’s candidates and looking for real change, could well cost her the nomination. With less than two weeks to go now before the first primary, it could conceivably make all the difference.
What do you think? Who’s really the Democratic frontrunner now?