More From The CBS News Poll: General Election

CBS and the New York Times also polled the general election.

At this stage, we're all poststructuralists; the horse race numbers have little to do with the reality of the November election. But again, the differences between the candidates reveal a lot about how the candidates are perceived by the electorate. Hillary Clinton does a little bit better than Barack Obama over John McCain, holding a lead outside the margin of error. (48 to 43 with leaners pushed for Clinton, 45 to 45 with leaners pushed for Obama.) The poll finds that a number of white women have left Obama's campaign to take a look at McCain, who actually ties (leads by 3) Obama among women overall. When was the last time there was gender parity in the electorate? Independents split between Obama and McCain and between Clinton and McCain; Clinton's margin comes from women.

THIRTY-NINE percent of Americans believe that Barack Obama would comport himself well in an international crisis, seven points lower than Clinton's score and 14 points lower than McCain's score. 31% of Americans think Obama would be swayed by special interests, but McCain scores equally well. Cindy McCain has a national favorability score of 50; Michelle Obama has one of 32, although Americans know her much less well.

THE PARADOX of the war continues to vex. 62% of Americans want to end the war within a year or two. Clear enough. But 77% want "flexibility" added to the decision-making rubric of their commanders in chief. That flexibility is predicated on the conditions in Iraq.

52% of Americans have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party. 33% of Americans feel the same way about Republicans. And Democrats lead by 18 points on the generic congressional ballot.