Saturday, March 8, 2008

From the column: General election matchups

Hillary Clinton's case to superdelegates is based on the idea that of all the states to have held their nominating contests, she has won the biggest ones -- California, New York, Ohio, etc. The argument is that her victories over Barack Obama in states Democrats need to win to take back the White House in November translate into a head start over John McCain for her.

Obama's case centers on his broad appeal, demonstrated in the number of states he's won and the coalitions he's built to do it. He leads in popular votes, states won and pledged delegates. His argument is that he is better suited than Clinton to make the Democratic Party competitive in traditionally red states.

So who's right?

They both are.

According to an analysis by SurveyUSA based on interviews of 600 registered voters in each of the 50 states -- a total of 30,000 interviews -- both Clinton and Obama beat McCain in hypothetical matchups -- although Obama, theoretically, would win four more electoral votes than Clinton.

The interesting thing is that while several red states do turn blue for Obama, some blue states turn red if he is the Democratic candidate. An additional irony is that for all of Clinton's talk about "electability," Obama seems more electable than Clinton.

Check out this link for the site's breakdown of a Clinton-McCain matchup; click here for the Obama-McCain numbers.

Want to see the hypothetical maps side by side? Gotcha covered ... click here.