Obama campaign plays up electability against McCain

In a memo, staffers try to take away Hillary Clinton's electability argument.

Published February 8, 2008 11:23PM (EST)

Now that we've basically got a Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, it's no surprise that the two remaining Democratic presidential candidates will start sparring over who will have a better chance against him come November. (OK, it's technically three remaining candidates -- Mike Gravel is still in the race -- but though he is a very nice dinner companion, he's not such a viable contender at this point.)

In a memo today, staffers for Barack Obama argued that he, not Hillary Clinton, is the better choice to go up against McCain because of his greater appeal to the independents who are key to McCain's electoral success.

"On the day that John McCain became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, a Time poll confirmed what voters and polls have consistently demonstrated in the last few weeks -- Barack Obama is the candidate best suited to win Independents, play well in Red States, and beat John McCain in November," the memo reads.

"In all six of the most recent general election head-to-head match-ups, Obama does better than Hillary Clinton against McCain by an average of more than five points. In four out of the six, Clinton loses to McCain."

The memo also provides the following data, poll numbers from recent head-to-head matchups, as evidence:

Time (Feb. 1-4)

Obama 48 (+7)
McCain 41

Clinton 46 (+0)
McCain 46

CNN/Opinion Research (Feb. 1-3)

Obama 52 (+8)
McCain 44

Clinton 50 (+3)
McCain 47

Cook Political Report/RT Strategies (Jan. 31-Feb. 2)

Obama 45 (+2)
McCain 43

Clinton 41 (-4)
McCain 45

ABC/Washington Post (Jan. 31-Feb. 1)

Obama 49 (+3)
McCain 46

Clinton 46 (-3)
McCain 49

Fox News (Jan. 30-31)

Obama 44 (+1)
McCain 43

Clinton 44 (-1)
McCain 45

Rasmussen (Feb. 4-7)

Obama: 47 (+5)
McCain: 42

Clinton: 43 (-3)
McCain: 46

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton John Mccain R-ariz.