early and often

Who Will Be Able to Win the Electability Argument?

Obama, Clinton, McCain

Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images

Last week a national Electoral College poll pitted Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama separately against John McCain in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. The numbers will obviously change between now and the general election, but the poll shows both Clinton and Obama defeating McCain with combinations of states that shake up the familiar red-blue divide of the past two presidential elections. And though they win with different states, the fact that the poll gives both Obama and Clinton an advantage fails to help resolve a main point of contention in the Democratic primary: Who is more electable? And so, as always, we turn to the pundits.

• Mike Madden details the uncertainty McCain’s team is facing, not knowing who he will be running against or even who he’d rather run against, though originally he looked forward to facing Clinton. And so his campaign focuses on trying to damage both Democratic candidates. [Salon]

• David Sirota finds two big problems with Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell’s defense of Clinton’s greater electability on Meet the Press: The electoral map can change dramatically, and primary results don’t directly reflect general-election viability. [HuffPo]

• Michael Scherer also notes the difference between primary support and general-election support and thinks it interesting that eight years after the Bush-Gore fiasco, the Clinton campaign is promoting her possible Electoral College strength as opposed to popular-vote strength. [Swampland/Time]

• Gary Bauer and Tom Rose think a McCain-Obama general-election matchup will make for a more substantive discussion but also an easier victory for McCain and conservative principles. [Washington Times]

• Kathleen Deveny lays it out in the first sentence: America is not ready for a female president. [Newsweek]

• Jill Lawrence says there’s no clear favorite between Obama and Clinton in terms of electability but that Democratic superdelegates will surely try to figure it out before deciding whom to support. [USAT]

• William Kristol writes that based on the special congressional election this past weekend, in which a rookie Democrat won in a strongly Republican district, McCain will be at a serious disadvantage against either Democrat this fall. [NYT]

• Chuck Todd and friends write that Clinton has advantages in battleground states like Ohio but isn’t winning small states dominated by Democratic activists. [First Read/MSNBC] —Dan Amira

For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

Who Will Be Able to Win the Electability Argument?