Hello, November

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With John McCain now the true front-runner for the GOP nomination, it will soon be time to start testing the theory that, if nominated, he would stand a good chance of winning in November, despite all the negative trends for his party in this election cycle. Rasmussen’s latest head-to-head numbers show McCain jumping to beyond-the-MOE leads over both Hillary Clinton (plus 8) and Barack Obama (plus 6) — and those results are from a survey that was completed before McCain won the Florida primary last night.

Does that mean McCain would be favored in a general election? Not necessarily. Once the primary races are truly settled and the nominees start training their fire on each other, McCain will likely begin to bear the burden of being the official pitchman for a product that’s been losing market share for more than two years. For now, however, his strong performance in these snapshot polls should help mollify some of his Republican detractors (though not all).