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New L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll upcoming

January 23, 2008 | 11:32 am

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