Both a new Time Magazine poll and the latest Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll show Barack Obama performing better against John McCain in the general election than Hillary Clinton does.
The consensus view as to why there is such a discrepancy is, as Rasmussen's analysis makes clear:
Obama leads McCain among voters not affiliated with either major political party. McCain leads Clinton among the unaffiliateds.
The difference, says Mark Schulman, CEO of Abt SRBI, which conducted the poll for TIME, is that "independents tilt toward McCain when he is matched up against Clinton But they tilt toward Obama when he is matched up against the Illinois Senator." Independents, added Schulman, "are a key battleground."