Is Clinton Really Hurting Obama?
The CW, if you will, is that as Clinton has continued to bludgeon Obama in the past month she is significantly hurting his chances in the general election.
Sure, there is the counter-argument that whatever Obama is facing now is just something he'd have to deal with in the general election, and he might as well face it now. But that misses the point that Clinton's attacks now will be quoted in the fall, to show that these 'concerns' about Obama are a legitimate kind of thing. As Josh Marshall wrote in March:
It is insufficient to say that Republicans will do this in the fall so there's nothing to be lost in hearing it now from Democrats. Because by doing this now, as a Democratic campaign, they are mainstreaming the message. If Obama is the nominee, when this emerges again, no doubt in a harsher, more rancid incarnation, it will come pre-approved by dint of a Democratic campaign's imprimatur.
I think he's right.
But what about the polls? Sure, general election polls don't have too much meaning at this point, but still, have the Dems, and specifically Obama, been hurt in these polls for the general election by the politics of the last month or two?
Polling Report has a page with these head-to-head general election polls. The Gallup daily tracking poll has showed it all fairly steady, with Obama and Clinton both about even with McCain. But the CBS/NYT polls show Obama (and Clinton, for that matter) holding up as well or slightly better than they were a few months ago against McCain.
And now on Saturday the LAT has a poll showing Obama 6 points up on McCain, and Clinton 9 points up on McCain. In both cases, that is much better than how the Dems were doing against McCain in the polling from February and January.