A new Time magazine poll shows independent voters swinging to Senator Barack Obama in a match up with Senator John McCain but opting for McCain if Senator Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. Obama beats McCain nationally 48% to 41% while Clinton ties with McCain at 46%. The poll did not include possible third party candidates such as Ralph Nader or Michael Bloomberg.
Though the real election is nine months away, Sen. Barack Obama would fare slightly better than Sen. Hillary Clinton in a head to head match-up with Sen. John McCain if the general election were held today, a new TIME poll reveals.
Obama captured 48% of the vote in the theoretical match-up against McCain's 41%, the TIME poll reported, while Clinton and McCain would deadlock at 46% of the vote each. Put another way, McCain looks at the moment to have a narrowly better chance of beating the New York Senator than he does the relative newcomer from Illinois.
The difference, says Mark Schulman, CEO of Abt SRBI, which conducted the poll for TIME, is that "independents tilt toward McCain when he is matched up against Clinton But they tilt toward Obama when he is matched up against the Illinois Senator." Independents, added Schulman, "are a key battleground."
For much of the year, Democrats have enjoyed a wide margin over any Republican rival in theoretical match-ups. Those margins have begun to shrink in recent weeks.
The survey of nearly 1,000 likely registered voters was conducted February 1 through February 4, before Super Tuesday and the departure from the Republican race of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.