It's the independents and moderates silly. The ones who look on with disgust at the polarization caused by the far-Left and the far-Right. They're the folks who that McCain got in New Hampshire and needs to continue supporting him if he's going to win the damn thing. Then too, for the folks in the middle McCain is so hard to dislike, not only because he's a war hero, but he's a man who stands on principle, not party dogma. The New York Post sums it up:
According to the survey, both of the Democratic front-runners, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, hold mostly double-digit -- and statistically identical -- advantages over Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee, drawing greater than 50 percent support in each hypothetical matchup.
The Republican candidate who gives Clinton and Obama the closest race in the new poll is Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is essentially tied with both: He draws the support of 48 percent of those surveyed to Clinton's 50 percent and Obama's 49 percent.
McCain could even beat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. His record taps into a latent populism that attracts Republicans, Democrats and Independents. His battle against big tobacco, efforts to address global warming, opposition to torture during interrogations and fight to reform corporate governance and to protect investors and pensioners appeal to voters of all stripes.
His issues cut across party and ideological lines, for an attraction far broader than the single notes sung by the evangelical Mike Huckabee and the anti-terror Giuliani. His heroism is apparent and his independence from special interests notable. He's pro-life and suitably conservative on social issues, so he attracts conservatives as well as moderates. And his credentials on terrorism and other national-security issues are outstanding.