Poll: Republicans say Obama, Clinton smarter than McCain
Published: Tuesday March 4, 2008

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McCain doubles Obama on confidence in national security

While Sen. John McCain has nearly wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination, he apparently still hasn't wrapped up his own party.

According to a new Fox News/Washington Times/Rasmussen reports poll out today, Republicans like Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) nearly as much as they like McCain. The survey -- of likability -- isn't indicative of whether they'd vote for Obama over their own nominee -- but it could suggest problems for McCain down the road, should Obama become the Democratic nominee.

Equally troubling for Republicans is that the survey showed that party supporters think Obama is smarter than McCain.

"Despite facing candidates with far more experience in government, [Obama] was rated smartest by 26 percent of those polled, more so than Mrs. Clinton, who won 22 percent, and Mr. McCain, who garnered 17 percent," the Washington Times write Tuesday. "Mr. Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, was fourth with 10 percent."

Excerpts follow.

The survey determined that a quarter of self-identified Republicans rated Mr. McCain most likable, but nearly as many 23 percent chose Mr. Obama as most likable. And among all adults surveyed, Mr. Obama was rated likable by more people than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. McCain combined, underscoring the Illinois senator's appeal to voters across the political spectrum.

"There is something about Barack Obama that is hard to capture in polling and it's an enthusiasm, it's a freshness, it's an excitement he can generate that will certainly be a factor in the campaign," said pollster Scott Rasmussen.

Mr. Obama said his message and his brand of campaigning will help him compete in states traditionally hostile to Democrats, and the poll numbers suggest an opening for that approach. By contrast, likability has never been Mr. McCain's strong suit even long-shot Republican candidate Mike Huckabee was rated more likable in the poll, both among all adults and Republicans specifically. Mr. McCain instead is betting on his national-security credentials, and there the survey shows him topping both Democrats combined....

Mr. Obama also was wildly popular among independents and third-party members, 41 percent of whom rated him most likable.

Full story here.