I began by being an Edwards supporter. I liked his policies, I liked his left-ness. When he dropped out of the race I had a choice to make, Clinton or Obama?
The first angle I took in my decision-making was purely pragmatic. I figured that you can't put any of your policies in place as President if you don't actually win the presidential election. Therefore my first priority was to compare Clinton and Obama in head-to-head matchups against McCain.
Is Clinton more likely to beat McCain in the largest number of states with the most electoral votes, or is it Obama? Does Clinton look like she'd be able to win any traditionally Republican states, or does Obama? Do the results in primaries held so far indicate that any swing states might move away from McCain and towards Clinton, or are they more likely to move away from McCain if Obama is the nominee?
And what about the negatives? How many people say they would vote for Clinton if she were the Democratic nominee, but if Obama were the nominee they'd vote for McCain? And how many say they'd do the opposite - vote for Obama over McCain if he's the nominee, but they'd rather have McCain than Clinton? How many people say they'd never vote for Clinton in a million years? How many say the same for Obama? And how many Republicans reckon they'd come out and specifically vote against Clinton but wouldn't worry about voting Republican if McCain was up against Obama? Or vice versa?
And how many people are identifying as new voters who've voted for Clinton? How many for Obama? How many independents say they've voted or intend to vote for Clinton, and how many for Obama?
These things matter. Winning the Democratic nomination is only half the battle. If you win the nom and then go on to lose the Presidential race against McCain, you've won nothing. Obvious really...
The results of my research convinced me that Obama was the most likely to win against McCain. Everything I've read - post-vote poll results, voting stats, opinion polls - convinces me that Hillary has too many negatives, has inspired fewer new voters to come out and vote, is unable to gather the votes of as many disillusioned Republicans as Barack can, and has not been the one to inspire the majority of independents to vote for her. Barack wins every time.
But you don't need to take it from me.
Survey USA has just come out with a new and comprehensive set of polls, the results of a nationwide survey of 30,000 people. You can see the results here (Obama vs McCain), here (Clinton vs McCain) and most tellingly here (new electoral maps side by side).
And what, to me, is even more interesting, is a mashup of these results with an analysis of the accuracy of all the different pollsters, carried out by poblano at Daily Kos. Go take a look and see what you think. Thanks to SurveyUSA for the maps and to poblano for the awesome graphs I've used here and the great analysis - keep on trucking, dudes!
I have a bunch of other reasons for preferring Obama over Clinton, many of which I've already blogged about over the past wee while, but to me, in some ways, this is the clincher. You won't get to answer the phone at 3am, however much experience you say you have, if you can't beat McCain.
You are here: Home > Clinton vs Obama: head-to-head matchups against McCain