Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., would do better than Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., against potential 2008 Republican presidential rivals John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani — but would still lose, a Gallup Poll showed Wednesday.
Both McCain, a senator from Arizona who challenged then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000, and Giuliani, mayor of New York City during the Sept. 11 attacks, would beat Clinton in the trial matchup 50 percent to 45 percent, the poll showed.
Either of the two Republicans would beat Kerry 54 percent to 41 percent. In the presidential election on Nov. 2, Bush beat Kerry 51 percent to 48 percent.
The Gallup Poll showed both McCain and Giuliani enjoying strong appeal among the independent swing voters who often decide the outcome of the nation’s presidential elections.
McCain and Giuliani each drew support from at least 50 percent of the independent voters surveyed by Gallup, while Clinton attracted no more than 41 percent, and Kerry got no more than 38 percent.
McCain and Giuliani also did a better job stealing Democratic support from Clinton and Kerry than the Democrats did luring Republican support from the two Republicans.
Great news for the GOP, right? Well, not really…
First of all, it’s far too early for this poll to have much real meaning.
Second, neither Rudy nor McCain are likely to win the GOP nomination. They both have a chance, of course. But they are probably too moderate (especially Rudy) to win many Republican primaries.
It would be interesting to see how Frist or Owens match up against Hillary or Kerry, because they are more likely to win the GOP nomination (being more conservative) than McCain or Rudy.
I suspect Frist would get beaten by Hillary, and it would be close with Kerry. And Owens is likely still too unknown to most voters for his national polling numbers to be of much utility.
Still. This is an early indication that the GOP has a decent shot at retaining the White House after Bush’s second term is up.