A CBS/NY Times poll finds that when asked who is "tough enough to make hard choices?" 70% said Clinton, 71% said McCain and 58% said Obama.
"Some perceptions of Obama's qualities have shifted in the last few weeks, and he has lost his edge over Clinton on a few past strengths. He is behind both Clinton and McCain on the question of who is tough enough to make the hard decisions a president must.
"Clinton has been campaigning as the "fighter" and the tough candidate who can get things done -- and most voters agree. Seven in 10 think both she and McCain are tough enough to make the right decisions a president has to make. A smaller number -- but still a majority -- says this about Obama."
All campaigns for president are about who will protect us? And the above results do not look good for Barack Obama. Nevertheless, the poll released yesterday had a 12-point lead for Obama over Clinton among Democrats.
But today's USA Today/Gallup national poll gives Clinton a 7-point lead over Obama, "the first time in 3 months she has been ahead."
USA Today writes:
"Barack Obama's national standing has been significantly damaged by the controversy over his former pastor, raising questions for some voters about the Illinois senator's values, credibility and electability."
The USA Today/Gallup poll also demonstrates Clinton's strength on a number of variables:
Clinton's advantage over Obama:
Is a strong and decisive leader? 53% Clinton, 37% Obama: Clinton +16
Has the best chance of beating John McCain in November? 48% Clinton, 43% Obama: Clinton +5
Shares your values? 47% Clinton, 42% Obama: Clinton +5
Cares about the needs of people like you? 47% Clinton, 43% Obama: Clinton +4
Why Obama Can't Win against McCain and Clinton Can.
Bottom line: Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.... Obama will have trouble winning these states. Without these key states, no Democrat is going to win the general election.
All the other stuff about Obama bringing out new voters -- and winning a whole bunch of states that Democrats never win -- is wishful thinking of the kind that nominated Dukakis, McGovern, and Adlai Stevenson. Even if Obama runs a good campaign, he is not going to win those three key states. Hillary wins them, as well as a bunch of other swing states such as Arkansas and Tennessee....
The states that Obama has won in the Democratic primaries, Alabama, Kansas, Iowa, etc. will not help him in the general election. Most states, where he has won delegates, voted Republican in the last four or five elections.
Remember Indiana and North Carolina will not count for the Democrats in the general election. They will both surely go Republican in November.
Clinton is winning the swing voters. Obama can't win the Catholic vote. Since 1970 the presidential candidate, who has won the Catholic vote, has won the popular vote in the general election. Obama has lost the white vote in 26 out of 29 contests among voters who do not have college degrees.
Obama doesn't pass the patriotic test, which the Republicans are going to hammer. His answer to that question is: The fact I am running for president means that I am a patriot. This couldn't happen in any other country in the world.
Perfectly true, great answer. But such a rational argument is not going to fight off endless repetitions of Wright's "God Damm America".... Or videos of Michelle Obama saying that that she didn't respect America until Obama started running.
Is Obama tough enough? Kerry's patriotism was Swift Boated in 2004. If the Republicans could do it to Kerry, who was a genuine Vietnam War hero, what do you think they will do to Obama?
The Republicans will destroy him. Right now as a candidate, Obama is too smart by half. -- like Adlai Stevenson, George McGovern, and Michael Dukakis, who refused to pander to the average voter -- and look what happened them.
If the Democrats had the same rules as the Republicans -- because they take the long view -- Hillary would have been the nominee long ago. Republicans look at the states they have to win.... to win the general election, and they have a winner-take-all rules.
You have got to be book smart and street smart to win elections and govern successfully.
Surely Clinton has many negatives, but she has been around for a long time. Basic opinion of her will not change so easily. Obama is less known and will be easier for the Republicans to define, ...and defeat. Barack Obama is a bright man and a great politician, but his best chance of becoming president is to join Hillary as a vice presidential candidate, and run again in eight years when he will still be a young man. By then he will be a better candidate and impossible to attack.
Our most important task, our sacred duty, is to beat McCain and get the disastrous Republicans out of power and bring our troops home.
HuffPost Politics brings you the top political stories three days a week. Learn more