From NBC's Mark Murray
A new Time magazine poll has plenty of bad news for President Bush and his party: His approval rating is just 33%; 68% support withdrawing most US troops no later than August 2008; and a plurality of 48% believe the fired prosecutors were dismissed for political reasons.
But in a twist, the poll has the leading GOP presidential candidates defeating the Democratic front-runners in hypothetical match ups. McCain tops Clinton, 48%-42%, and Giuliani beats her, 50%-41%. Obama, who trails Clinton by 7 points in the Democratic trial heat, fares a bit better: He loses (within the margin of error) to McCain, 45%-43%, and to Giuliani, 45%-44%.
Time takes a stab at what may be going on: "It's hard to know exactly why respondents who are generally unhappy towards — and in many cases fed up with — the GOP might still prefer a Republican for president over a Democrat. Much of it has to do with the individual candidates involved. In Clinton's case, as TIME pollster Mark Schulman points out, 'with Hillary the Democratic front-runner, most voters have made up their minds about her, both pro and con. She may have limited upward potential against Republicans. The emerging anti-Hillaries, Obama and Edwards, suffer from low awareness at this point.'"