In what looks to be a bona fide movement behind the campaign, John McCain has not just become the Republican frontrunner but the national leader in the presidential sweepstakes. In a poll taken before his Florida victory, Rasmussen has McCain leading Hillary Clinton by eight points and Barack Obama by six. It caps an improbable comeback by a man whom the media laughed off as dead in the water six months ago:
The latest Rasmussen Reports survey of Election 2008 shows Republican frontrunner Senator John McCain with single-digit leads over Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. McCain now leads Clinton 48% to 40%. He leads Barack Obama 47% to 41%.
In a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted mid-January, McCain was two points behind Clinton, five behind Obama. A couple days later McCain won the South Carolina primary.
McCain has led Clinton in four of the last five polling match-ups conducted by Rasmussen Reports. He has had the edge over Obama in three of the last four polls. (see history and trends). Following his victory in Florida, Rasmussen Markets data indicates that McCain is the overwhelming favorite for the Republican Presidential nomination.
The crosstabs have some revealing information. McCain loses among women to Hillary, but only by three points, and he beats Obama by five. He beats Hillary among men by a whopping 22 points, but only edges Obama by eight with males. He ties or wins outright in every age category except 18-29 against Obama and Clinton.
In the race demographics, a couple of telling points. McCain gets 19% of the black vote against Hillary and 20% against Obama, but Obama gets a lot more overall, 77% to 59% for Hillary. This indicates that the Clinton campaign has seriously damaged their support in the African-American community and that the GOP has a chance to make an argument for their support — if the Democrats don’t nominate Barack Obama. Hillary beats McCain in the “Other” category, presumably dominated by Hispanics, 57% to 37%. Obama beats him here as well, but only 49%-46%, which might indicate that Hillary’s outreach to Hispanics has succeeded outside of Nevada.
Most interestingly, conservatives back him in both matchups. He gets 70% against Hillary and 67% against Obama, with only a maximum of 13% saying they will cast their vote elsewhere. He plays in the margin of error with both Hillary and Obama for moderates, trailing by three points. Liberals only give him 18-19% and he loses Not Sure to Hillary by six points, but he beats Obama in Not Sure by 24 points.
It looks like most conservatives will not walk away from McCain in either head-to-head contest. McCain could build on that with his decision to attend CPAC, as noted at The Corner. Just showing up shows that he recognizes the damaged relationship with the activists in the conservative base that could help him win, if he gets the nomination. It’s a moment for both those conservatives and McCain to reach out for accommodation and assurances.