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New L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll upcoming

Unlike Democrat John Edwards, we don't see the Republican presidential race as near clear enough to tap John McCain as the GOP's likely nominee. But a new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll of voters nationwide does back up an argument the McCain camp likes to press: as of the moment, he would be the most competitive rival to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the general election.

We're not quite ready to reveal the numbers yet; for that you can check our home page at about 4 p.m. PST.

But the survey, conducted Friday through Monday, found McCain holding his own in matchups with either of the two likely Democratic nominees. By contrast, Obama and Clinton both enjoy solid leads over Republicans Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee.

Our apologies to candidate/pundit Edwards, his distant third-place finishes in the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucuses -- and the lack of any sign he can vault out of that also-ran position -- made him matchup-unworthy.

-- Don Frederick

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If Mitt wins Florida, he will win the United States. If he can beat McCain, how can he not beat Clinton?

It seems foolhardy to even think about compromising our basic moral conservative principles to elect a man (McCain) who is not much more conservative than Clinton or Obama and who doesn't have the experience to save, let alone improve the economy and our ability to compete globally.

Mitt will gain the momentum in Florida in a few days, and will only go uphill from there. He will have four times the delegates of any other candidate, and Fred's departure makes him the concensus Reagan conservative. (Social and economic conservative, plus strong national defense.)

Other polls have shown Romney beating Clinton.

Agreed! Florida is the key and I think Mitt has it.

I'm not sure why none of the Democratic and Republican candidates who are supporting healthcare reform are not supporting the repeal of the portion or ERISA that allows insurance companies very limited liability when they are denied benefits.

For example, if your insurance company covers people nationally, then if you are denied care and you are injured as a result of that care, ERISA only allows damages that are based on the cost of the procedure and no punitive damages.

Everyone should be really concerned because insurance companies can continue to get away with denying care.

Your apologies?!

I'm sorry, it's not accepted.

In case you've forgotten, Edwards came in slightly better in NH than Clinton. He did poorly in one state that has voted.

How dare you shut out Edwards, his supporters, and the rest of the 48 states.

Shame on you!

I just don't get the McCain-bashing. Just because he doesn't spout the party line on every issues does not equate to "[he is] not much more conservative than Clinton or Obama."

1. McCain is a respected leader on issues of national security and international relations.

2. McCain continues to be a social conservative.

3. McCain has repeatedly emphasized fiscal responsibility from the government.

Am I the only one who remembers '94? Remember when the Republican Party monopolized the issue of fiscal responsibility. For the past decade, we have allowed deficits to skyrocket. Don't blame the war -- defense spending as a percentage of GDP is not high by historical levels. McCain, and McCain alone, will restore some fiscal sanity to the federal government. Cutting taxes alone is not fiscal responsibility; balancing the budget is.

4. Most important, McCain is a genuine leader willing to buck popular opinion on issues important to him.

I don't accept your apology, either. Number one is it not sincere and number two it is a total slap in the face to anyone that believes in democracy. Where does the media get off telling the voters who is a viable candidate and who isn't? The Democrats have three candidates in this race and ALL THREE should be covered. There is NO VALID EXCUSE for doing anything else.

The media has picked Hillary & Obama from the very begining and you've shaped your coverage in order to make it a self fulfilling prophecy. We Edwards' supporters may not win but we will fight you every step of the way because we believe that voters are the ones who should make this decision, not the media.

The Gallup polling organization sent me an email way back in November telling me that because Clinton was the most likely nominee and Obama the likely second place that they would not poll Edwards in their head-to-head matchups with Republicans. In effect they were telling me this before the first vote was even cast.

There is something seriously wrong in this country when corporate controlled media and polling organizations have the power to artiificially limit voters choices. In third world countries when the powers that be want to eliminate threats they make those people disappear permanently. But here in our country when a candidate threatens the status quo the entrenched interests have the power to make those candidates disappear from the headlines. In my opinion, both methods accomplish the same goal.


Better go back and do your homework. McCain is not at all popular among conservatives.

It is patently ridiculous to refuse to include John Edwards in these polls. I feel you are working with the Right Wing to limit his media exposure, and pick the Democratic candidate for President, through an Edwards black-out, and it is shameful. Let the people decide. We deserve more than two choices, and we have 46 states to go. The fourth estate should hang it's head in shame, all of you. You are a disgrace.

(Hasn't Sen. Edwards had numerous official chances to be chosen in actual polls vs these statistical snapshots? How's he done there?)

Your poll will be incomplete without John Edwards. Fortunately all in media are not so arrogant. Today John Edwards was endorsed by the Modesto Bee, one of California's largest newspapers! Yesterday Edwards was endorsed by the SC Communications Workers of America, one of the largest unions in South Carolina. I look forward to the day you have to eat crow and put Senator Edwards back in your match-up!

(It'll be interesting to see how well he does in South Carolina this Saturday. We'll be watching too.)

I think if you care about being accurate you might note that in Nevada if he lacks a viable percentage in any counts as NOTHING...your Democracy at work. You also conveniently left out that John Edwards finished AHEAD OF the other 'million dollar candidate' Clinton, who also outspent Edwards 6 to 1. He isnt in a better position because the media gives him zilch for airtime, and true to its poor reporting fails to mention how BOTH Clinton & Barack's positions on Healthcare,stimulus pkg.,concern for middle class, etc. have all followed Edwards..neither had issued anything about those until after Edwards..if he leaves they would have to come up with their own ideas..and "change' started in the ninth ward of New Orleans where John announced his even 'where do I stand today' ,magic underwear himself, 'Romney' is throwing that 'change' out there. Bottom line John Edwards is the one that really offers change from the 'Corporotocracy of America'..try being journalists and give the people a chance to decide..we can do that thank you..PS I dont think it was an accident that Iowa was left out in the statement above..yep thats the state of reporting now....

Will you guys just report on our elections and stop steering them? Please? Is it too much to ask?

For instance: Edwards is still in this race. He has earned delegates. And much of the electorate would actually like to see how well he would do in your poll IF you included him.

Stop. steering. our. elections. please.

Many thanks.

Ugh. Apologies to candidate/pundit John Edwards? You're kidding right? Why would you call Edwards a pundit? He's nothing like a pundit. Edwards talks about the health care crisis. He's the only candidate who has put a ton of focus on poverty in America. As far as I know pundits like to talk about infighting between candidates, which really affects Americans in their daily lives.

BTW, the MSM has stopped polling Edwards in head to head matchups even before the Iowa Caucus. Why do you think that is?

(Imagine it's because he hasn't won anything to indicate it's worth testing.)

I wanted to clarify my earlier remark. I was so outraged by your "apology" that I obviously wasn't thinking straight.

Edwards came in 2nd in Iowa, 3rd in New Hampshire, and a very distant 3rd in Nevada. He currently has half the delegates that Obama and Clinton do, but we still have 47 states to go for pete's sake.

Who are YOU to decide what news WE want to hear? Do your polling fairly, and stop telling us who's in, who's out, and who's worthy of OUR attention.

Until he officially drops out of the race, I want to know how Edwards fairs in a head-to-head match-up.

Please stop being so biased. Your dismissal of him gives the impression he isn't supported by a great number of people. Stop trying to play with a crystal ball.

Why does this article not do an Edwards vs. Republican match-up? Is it because they don't want to reveal that Gallup polls show that Edwards is more likely to beat the Republicans. Edwards may be second or third choice to Democrats, but nationally he will be first. If Democrats lose this next election, they have only themselves to blame for not considering the rest of the nation.

Meanwhile, Clinton's nasty attack tactics on Obama portend worse nastiness if she becomes the Democratic Presidential candidate. I don't care if she's a woman or if he's black, I want a candidate who will not cause division and arouse the ire of right-wing Clinton haters who will hold up the government again. I want a candidate who shows good judgment and decency and who did not support the Iraq War. That Clinton will use attacks with misinformation about Obama reveals that she lacks integrity and will stoop to win. She is not the President that I want. Obama has presented a clear-minded vision for bringing the country together. Clinton has only introduced dirt-digging and false attacks, rather than countering with a better vision for our country.

An Edwards-Obama ticket or Obama-Edwards ticket will unite the country. let's keep our eye on the ball.

You include Giuliani but not Edwards??? How many second place (or even third place) finishes has Giuliani had? Hell, Clinton has a third place finish as well. I guess it's time to write those two off as well considering that a whole three states have already voted.

You include Giuliani but not Edwards??? How many second place (or even third place) finishes has Giuliani had? Hell, Clinton has a third place finish as well. I guess it's time to write those two off as well considering that a whole three states have already voted.

I'm NOT a John Edwards supporter, but your choice not to match him in this poll is an egregious violation of journalistic integrity.

Louisiana Caucus: McCain wins, Paul second, Romney third

McCain does well in LA but Paul again surprises and beats Romney, Huckabee and Giuliani. He's playing with the big boys now!

Hey, guys. I'm more than a bit peeved at your newest LA Times/Bloomberg poll.

Once again, you failed to list Ron Paul's name as a candidate, you have him listed as 'other'.

For a poll that ran from Jan 18-Jan 22, that option is inexcuseable; he had gotten better finishes than either Giuliani or Thompson in several states,

This has to be an intentional slamming of the man; I cannot think of a single reason why his name could not have been included in the choices.

Q24. Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think would be best on social issues, such as abortion and gay rights: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson?

Q25. Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think will substantially change the way things are done in Washington: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, or Fred Thompson?

Q26. Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think would be best at handling the economy: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson?

Q27. Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think would be best on taxes: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson?

Q28. Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think would be best on handling foreign policy: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson?

Q29. Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think would be best on handling the illegal immigration situation: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson?

Can you give me ANY excuse as to why his name isn't mentioned as a choice in any of these questions? Especially since Ron Paul DOOES have the highest taxpayer rating in Congress (so he'd be good on taxes), he sits on the House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology (so he'd be good on the economy) and he sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (so he understands foreign policy).

Also, he IS the only man who would substantially change the way that things are done in Washington.

Maybe THAT is why he wasn't listed as a choice.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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