In a dramatic reversal, an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll found that a clear majority of Democratic voters now say Sen. Barack Obama has a better chance of defeating Republican Sen. John McCain in November than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
While Obama and Clinton are both sustaining dents and dings from their lengthy presidential fight, the former first lady is clearly suffering more. Democratic voters no longer see her as the party's strongest contender for the White House.
Voters of all types have gotten a better sense of Obama, who was an obscure Illinois legislator just four years ago. As more people moved from the "I don't know him" category in the AP-Yahoo! News poll, more rated Obama as inexperienced, unethical and dishonest. And 15 percent erroneously think he's a Muslim, thanks in part to disinformation widely spread on the Internet.
But Obama's positive ratings have climbed as well, while Clinton — widely known since the early 1990s — has been less able to change people's views of her. And when those views have shifted, it has hurt her more than helped.
The New York senator's ratings for being honest, likable, ethical and refreshing have fallen since January, and Obama scores higher than she does in all those categories.
And it will just get worse for Clinton, the longer she and her hit squad keep playing the negative card.