WASHINGTON - Democrat Barack Obama has a narrow lead over John McCain in a potential presidential matchup, while Hillary Rodham Clinton is about even with the Republican front-runner, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll indicated Monday.
The survey is the first look at voter sentiment since last week's Super Tuesday presidential contests around the country and Mitt Romney's departure from the GOP race. Obama and Clinton are battling in a Democratic campaign that may take weeks or even months to resolve, while McCain, an Arizona senator, is the likely Republican nominee.
Obama, an Illinois senator, led McCain in the poll by 48 percent to 42 percent when people were asked which one they would prefer if the presidential race were held now. Clinton, a senator from New York, got 46 percent to McCain's 45 percent in their matchup.
The poll shows Clinton leading Obama in the race for the Democratic nomination, 46 percent to 41 percent. McCain is well ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has remained in the Republican contest, by 44 percent to 30 percent. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has 9 percent.
The survey was conducted from Feb. 7-10 and involved telephone interviews with 1,029 adults. It had an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Included were 520 Democrats, for whom the margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4.3 points, and 357 Republicans, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5.2 points.