John McCain would run a competitive race against either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the general election, according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll conducted Feb.21-25. McCain leads Obama 44 percent to 42 percent, within the poll’s 3 point margin of error, and bests Clinton 46 percent to 40 percent.
Although a clear majority of those polled said they did not support the war in Iraq, a position with which Obama and Clinton agree, about half of those polled said McCain was better equipped to deal with the issue. McCain fared better than Obama on issues of the economy (42 percent to 34 percent), but voters preferred Clinton to McCain on the issue by 43 percent to 34 percent.
In the Democratic race, Obama leads Clinton nationally 48 percent to 42 percent. The poll squares with some other recent national surveys in putting Obama out front beyond the margin of error, but the New York Times/CBS News poll and USA Today/Gallup poll had Obama’s lead in double-digits.
Public Policy Polling matched up the Democrats with McCain for the general election in the key state of Ohio and found Obama leading McCain 48 percent to 47 percent, within the survey’s 3 point margin of error, and McCain ahead of Clinton 51 percent to 47 percent. The poll was conducted Feb.21-24. The poll found a noticeable gender gap with a majority of women supporting Clinton or Obama, and a majority of men supporting McCain.