Friday, May 02, 2008Some recent general election head to heads have Obama doing worse than Clinton against McCain both in specific swing states and nationally. This shouldn't be surprising, as Obama has endured nearly 10 weeks of attacks from Clinton and negative coverage from the press, without really responding in kind. I would propose that general election match-ups now are not a good indication of what November would look like, because Obama is much more likely to run more aggressively against McCain than he has against Clinton, for reasons I wrote about yesterday. In addition, I think it is highly unlikely that the hostile media coverage will continue uninterrupted for the next six months. The force of Clinton's attacks have been particularly strong because her standing as a Democrat gives them credibility a Republican attack would not. (Which is why they are so destructive to the party, by the way)
The average of polls show Clinton and Obama doing roughly the same against McCain, with Clinton doing better among Democratic loyalists and Obama among independents. I think that Obama's numbers vis a vis McCain are probably deflated, since it is extremely unlikely that loyal Democratic voters will stay home or defect to the Republican candidate in substantial numbers. It is far more likely, I think, for independents to continue to break against Clinton in any general election, particularly given the exceptionally high negatives created by her attack strategy on Obama.