In head-to-head contests, the poll found, McCain leads Clinton by 6 percentage points (46% to 40%) and Obama by 2 points (44% to 42%). Neither lead is commanding given that the survey, conducted Feb. 21-25, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The Arizona senator is viewed favorably by 61% of all registered voters, including a plurality of Democrats.
The survey showed that McCain's potential advantages extend even to domestic issues, where he is considered to be most vulnerable. ... voters picked him over Obama, 42% to 34%, as being best able to handle the economy. However, Clinton led McCain on that issue, 43% to 34%.
"I just think he's older, he's more experienced, and he's got the betterment of the country in mind," said Robert Fear, 79, a registered Democrat from Newton, Ill., who said he planned to support McCain in November.
When compared to either Democrat, McCain is rated as the "strongest leader." He easily outpaces both when voters are asked who has the "right experience to be president," beating Obama by 31 points and Clinton by 12.