Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain trails Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in hypothetical matchups, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Wednesday.
Illinois Sen. Obama leads McCain by 12 percentage points -- 52 per cent to 40 per cent; New York Senator Clinton leads McCain by 6 points -- 50 per cent to 44 per cent, the poll found.
McCain, an Arizona senator, has turned his attention to the the November 4 general election after clinching his party's nomination on Tuesday night. Clinton and Obama are still locked in a close battle for the Democratic nomination.
McCain, endorsed by US President George W Bush, fares poorly against Clinton and Obama among Americans who disapprove of the president and Americans opposing the war, The Washington Post said.
About two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job and think the war was not worth fighting, the newspaper said.
Age might be another obstacle for 71-year-old McCain, who if elected would be the oldest first-term president.
The per centage of Americans discouraged by McCain's age (27 per cent) is more than double the number who would be less enthusiastic about supporting Obama, who would be the first African American president or Clinton, who would be the first female president, the Post reported.
In a campaign pitting McCain against Obama, the veteran Arizona lawmaker pulls ahead of the junior senator from Illinois on the question of "experience." Sixty-eight per cent of Americans who favor experience over "change" support McCain. However, 80 per cent of those who desire a new direction and new ideas favor Obama, the poll found.
In a matchup with Clinton, the Republican holds a wide lead among those seeking experience while Clinton wins two-thirds of voters seeking change, the newspaper reported.
Obama also leads McCain on top issues in the poll: the economy, health care, immigration and ethics in government. The survey shows McCain with a wide advantage as the one better suited to handle the US campaign against terrorism, the Post said.
The random telephone poll of 1,126 adults was taken Febraury 28 through March 2 and has a margin of error of plus or minus three per centage points.