McCain is losing three in 10 conservatives to either Obama or Clinton, far more than he likely could stand to see slip away. Democratic presidential candidates since 1988 have won 15 to 20 percent of conservatives, not 30 percent.
That poses a potentially difficult straddle for McCain – reassuring conservatives on his right without alienating moderates and independents in the center. Currently many more Americans call Obama "about right" ideologically, 56 percent, than McCain, 41 percent….
At the same time, Obama’s race still rates as a slight net positive for him, as does Clinton’s sex for her, compared with the net negative of McCain’s age. Americans by a 23-point margin are less enthusiastic about McCain given the fact that he’d be the oldest first-term president; by an 8-point margin, they’re more enthusiastic about Obama given that he’d be the first African-American president. Clinton’s net positive on being the first woman president is about the same, 9 points.
Obama’s race is a net positive for Democrats by 20 points and independents by a slight 5 points, negative for Republicans by 5. Clinton’s sex is a net positive for Democrats and independents, negative for Republicans. McCain’s age, by contrast, is a net negative across party lines, although to varying degrees….
Despite reduced violence in Iraq, 63 percent of Americans continue to say that given its costs vs. benefits the war was not worth fighting. And fewer than half, 43 percent, are persuaded the United States is making significant progress restoring civil order there…. among independents only a third say it was worth fighting, and just 40 percent see significant progress on civil order….
Only 47 percent of conservatives, and 52 percent of Republicans, pick McCain as better suited in terms of his personality and temperament.
The fact that Obama beats McCain by a greater margin than Hillary beating McCain? That’s gotta be good news for the Obama team, who has to convince superdelegates why he is the better nominee than Clinton.