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And The Winner Of The Values Debate Is...


Via Ben Smith, the responses to this question in the latest CBS/New York Times poll really surprised me, post-Wright:

Do you think [candidate] shares the values most Americans try to live by, or doesn't (s)he?

Obama 70%
McCain 66%
Clinton 60%

From poll write-up: The biggest gap between Obama and Clinton on this comes from Republicans. Most Republicans, 52%, think Obama shares America’s values but far fewer, only 27%, think Clinton does. Independents and Democrats think they both do, but Obama fares better here, too, by 13 points. Republicans and Independents both think McCain shares America’s values, and half of Democrats do.

There's been a lot of talk in recent weeks about how Clinton and Obama are now more or less equally electable. This poll suggests one of two things: 1.) That Bosnia flap did a lot more damage (particularly among Republicans) than some of us expected. Or 2.) (And more likely, I think) Hillary's general-election liabilities can be easy to overlook or forget during a Democratic primary, where she is beloved by a lot of people, but they are very real and deeply-entrenched.

I guess there's a third option--kind of a combination of 1.) and 2.)--which is that the Bosnia flap reminded people of all the things that would weigh Hillary down in a general election. But that's obviously not much more encouraging for her...

--Noam Scheiber