The Clinton campaign will no doubt be touting a new AP-Ipsos poll showing her with a 9-point lead over John McCain, especially because the same poll has McCain within two points of Barack Obama. Electability remains the primary argument that Clinton has against Obama to the superdelegates, and most polls have the general election essentially a wash, with all the candidates within a few points against one another.
But one thing I found interesting about the poll once I moved beyond the horserace numbers was how reluctant Americans were about all of the candidates. On key issues of Iraq and the economy, a majority of Americans weren’t particularly trustful of Obama, Clinton, or McCain.
On Iraq, 60 percent said they were “only a little” or “not at all” trustful of Obama to handle the situation, 59 percent felt that way about Clinton and McCain, On the economy, the numbers were a 53 percent forÂ Obama, 50 percent for Clinton, andÂ 59 percent for McCain.
This poll isn’t particularly positive for McCain, but I think it’s worrisome for Obama as well. One of the promises of Obama’s campaign is that he’ll get people to replace their cynicsm with hope and make changes by working together and finding common ground. In one of his many explanations for his “bitter” comments, Obama said that what he meant was people in certain communities have seen the government do nothing for them for so long, that they simply don’t believe it when a politician like him comes along promising change, so that’s why he’s having trouble with working class voters. And I must say, interviewing Democrats in primary states going back to Iowa, a recurring theme among non-Obama voters I’ve spoken to is precisely that, on some basic level, they just aren’t buying the notion that Obama can become president and simply change everything. They just don’t believe it’s possible. These numbers kind of bear out the fact that a good chunk of the electorate is going to react to any speech by a politician by thinking, “Yeah, right!” That general sentiment would seem particularly troubling for Obama, whose entire candidacy is based on promises and words, without having any tangible accomplishments to back it up with.