Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would both statistically tie Republican John McCain in a general election matchup, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicates.
According to the poll released Tuesday morning, both Obama and Clinton are locked in a dead heat with the Arizona senator.
If Obama were to win the nomination, he would get 47 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent for McCain -- a statistical tie given the poll's 3 percentage point margin of error. Should Clinton win the nomination, the poll suggests she would get 49 percent compared to McCain's 47 percent -- another statistical tie.
While Clinton and Obama match up equally with McCain, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes the two Democrats appear to be drawing support from different groups of voters.
"Clinton appears to do a little bit better than Obama among older voters, women, and self-identified Democrats against McCain; Obama's numbers may be slightly better among younger voters and those who describe themselves as Republicans and Independents," Holland said.
The poll also shows all three presidential candidates get high marks from voters on the issue of the economy -- roughly two-thirds of those surveyed say each of the candidates would do a good job handling the issue. This appears to be good news for McCain, given that the incumbent president's party is often blamed for economic woes.
"The fact that McCain is currently holding his own on the economy with the two Democratic candidates does help to explain why the general election matchups are so close even though most Americans think the country is in a recession," Holland said.
McCain is also aided by his strength on the terrorism issue. Roughly three-quarters of all Americans think McCain would do a good job fighting terror while Obama and Clinton score significantly lower -- although a majority of those polled think either Democrat would do a good job.
But Obama and Clinton both get higher points than McCain on handling health care. More than two-thirds say the two Democrats would handle that issue well, while 57 percent who say the same for McCain. And nearly 1 in 5 voters say that the nation's health care system is their top concern -- almost twice as many as the 10 percent that cite terrorism.