It is not like Hillary Clinton needs any more encouragement to stick around. She and her husband–in a flashback to old times–seem impervious to the growing chorus of Democrats hoping she’ll exit quickly. The latest Washington Post/ABC poll won’t please those trying to sweep her off the stage.
A surprising 64% of voters want her to stay in the race. That includes 42% of Barack Obama’s supporters. Are these Democrats mad? Do they enjoy the spectacle of Clinton possibly beating the surefire nominee today and damaging his electoral chances? Perhaps they are more polite than the pundits and want to give her the courtesy of finishing the primary season. (According to the poll, they actually seem to have bought into the idea that Clinton’s continued presence isn’t damaging the Democrats’ chances in November.)
Other than that, there is not much good news for Clinton, who trails by a healthy 12% to Obama and now lags on questions of electability and leadership. As for John McCain, he trails Obama 51-44% but can extract a few kernels of good news: 26% of Clinton’s supporters say they will vote for him, he leads Obama 71-18% on experience, and he beats Obama 65-24% on foreign affairs.
But wait: if those two issues are his strong suits and he still trails Obama, does this mean those issues aren’t that important? It seems that if McCain could improve in one key area–ability to bring about change, where he trails (29-59%)–it would have the most impact. After all, that’s how Clinton lost her aura of invincibility. So long as the argument is “change vs. status quo,” Obama has the undeniable upper hand. If the argument ever becomes focused on what kind of change is each candidate proposing, then McCain may have a shot.