Despite the finding in a March 23-26 Time magazine/SRBI poll that Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) each would handily defeat former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) in a hypothetical general election matchup, Time.com Washington editor Ana Marie Cox wrote in the April 9 edition of Time that "when presented with matchups between the front runners of both parties, voters still choose Republicans every time." According to the Time poll, Clinton beat Romney by 17 percentage points, while Obama beat him by 24.
In the same article, Cox described Romney as one of the front-runners for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination along with Sen. John McCain (AZ) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and she identified Clinton, Obama, and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) as the front-runners for the Democratic ticket.
As Media Matters for America also noted, in a March 29 article, Time Washington bureau chief Jay Carney similarly asserted that the poll's result show that voters "might still prefer a Republican for President over a Democrat" without mentioning the poll's findings on Clinton and Obama matchups against Romney. Moreover, although the poll indicated that 16 percent of Democratic registered voters and those who lean Democratic would vote for Edwards in the Democratic primary, compared with the 11 percent of Republican registered voters and those who lean Republican who said they would vote for Romney in the Republican primary -- Time did not provide polling data on hypothetical matchups between Edwards and any Republican candidates.
From Cox's article:
On the left and the right, the only way to make a truly strong candidate is to take a composite of the front runners: Edwards' health-care plan plus Clinton's toughness plus Obama's charisma. Or Romney's social conservatism plus Giuliani's leadership plus McCain's reputation for candor. The Democrats can't seem to settle on a sweetheart, while on the right, "I'd like to be able to choose a little of each one," as a senior Republican lawmaker put it recently. If his best competitors are Frankenstein's monsters, why shouldn't a distant contender like [Sen. Chuck] Hagel [R-NE] try to cobble together an image that proudly shows its seams?
As a new TIME poll indicates, there's an underlying incoherence to the electorate right now. Americans are profoundly disillusioned with the Administration. But when presented with matchups between the front runners of both parties, voters still choose Republicans every time.