Clinton clobbers McCain; McCain thrashes Obama... in Israel

57% of Israelis prefer Clinton over McCain; If Obama wins nomination, he would receive on 20% of vote in Israel.

clinton shouts 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
clinton shouts 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
If the Israeli public had its way, Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States.That, at least, is what emerges from a poll carried out last week among 494 Hebrew-speaking Israelis by Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communication. The poll asked respondents for their preference in a Clinton-John McCain race, and a McCain-Barack Obama contest.According to the poll, 57 percent of the respondents prefer Clinton over McCain in November if Clinton ends up the Democratic nominee. Only 18% preferred McCain in that race, while another 25% were undecided or refused to answer.If - as seems more likely at this point - Obama gets the Democratic nod, then according to the poll Israelis prefer McCain by a wide margin, with 43% saying they would prefer McCain in that race, 20% supporting Obama, and fully 37% undecided or not answering.The McCain and Clinton campaigns welcomed the results and used them to bolster their arguments that each of their candidates has the best record on Israel."Once again, this shows their recognition of Hillary Clinton's commitment to a strong US-Israel relationship. She appreciates this support, and will continue to maintain this relationship as president," said Ann Lewis, a senior advisor with the campaign.The McCain camp seized on the senator's performance against Obama in the poll."Senator McCain is gratified by the support expressed among Israelis. This is another reflection of John McCain's unquestioned, decades-long commitment to the security of Israel in the face of those who would do her harm," said campaign spokeswoman Crystal Benton.The Obama campaign had not responded to a request for comment by deadline.Mitchell Barak, the managing director of Keevoon who conducted the poll, which will be presented at a conference on political campaigning in Washington next month sponsored by the Campaigns and Elections' Politics Magazine, said the results indicate that there remains deep concern among the Israeli pubic over Obama.The Illinois senator's poor polling numbers among Israelis, Barak said, indicated that the Israeli public had picked up on the concerns and apprehensions of many American Jews, and that it seems the Israeli public is especially concerned of Obama's willingness to conduct a dialogue with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Barak attributed Clinton's high numbers, and the fact that according to the poll she would stomp McCain if the elections were held in Israel, to "overwhelming support here for Bill Clinton's presidency. He is seen as favorable, and Hilary is a known personality. There is little expectation that she would do anything too surprising."McCain's problem with the Israeli public, Barak said, was simply that he was not a well-known quantity. "Israelis don't know senators that well," he said.The telephone poll was carried out between May 13-15, and has a 4.5% margin of error.