Poll: Ayers Attacks and Sarah Palin Hurt McCain

ABC News reports a new Washington Post/ABC poll shows:

Likely voters overwhelmingly reject his effort to make an issue of Barack Obama's association with 1960s radical William Ayers. Fallout continues from McCain's pick of Sarah Palin for vice president, with 52 percent saying it weakens their confidence in his judgment. And on optimism, it's Obama by 2-1

60 percent say Obama's relationship with Ayers is not a legitimate issue in the presidential campaign; 37 percent say it is.

On Palin, [More...]

On the vice presidential candidates, 52 percent of likely voters say McCain's pick of Palin has made them less confident in the kind of decisions he'd make as president; that's up 13 points since just after the selection, as doubts about Palin's qualifications (also voiced by Powell on Sunday) have grown. Just 38 percent say it makes them more confident in McCain's judgment, down 12 points.

Among the Independents polled:

On all these, the views of swing-voting independents are critical. They see Obama as more optimistic by 57-31 percent and as better-suited temperamentally by 52-36 percent. The Palin pick makes them less rather than more confident in McCain's judgment by 51-39 percent, while the Biden selection makes them more rather than less confident in Obama by 50-33 percent.

The Palin numbers couldn't be clearer:

Views of the Palin selection, naturally, are highly partisan. But majorities of moderates (62 percent), young adults (59 percent) and women (56 percent) all say it makes them less confident in McCain's judgment. (More women than men say so.) So do near majorities, 48 percent, of white women and married women alike.

On Ayers: The Republican base seems fine with the attacks but no one else does:

Just 29 percent of moderates, 12 percent of liberals and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

The poll numbers and charts are here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    McCain is a moral coward (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by TomStewart on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 04:01:53 AM EST
    I hate to say that about anyone, but the facts are clear, he not only approves of the smears of his campaign. he's proud of them. This campaign IS John McCain. Deceitful and shameful.

    He should get what he deserves.

    The 2 things that show the "new" McCain (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 01:40:41 PM EST
    There are 2 things that make epitomize today's win-at-all cost McCain, 2 acts that basically lead me to question not just his integrity but frankly his soul and/or sanity:

    1. His signing off on the use of torture by the CIA- if any man could have been excused by the GOP base for standing on principle here, it was McCain (and he did stand on this until 2006)?

    2. His hiring of the very people who smeared not just himself (which is distasteful but almost expected in today's political enviroment) but his daughter (suggesting she was the product of a McCain liason with a prostitute)-- what kind of man does this, seriously how can you do this and look your kid in the eye afterward?

    ya (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 08:39:39 AM EST
    As Powell pointed out, the way that McCain uses the attacks and they feigns a lack of interest in Ayers makes him look silly (and worse).

    Palin is Palin.  She cost McCain cover fire from the conservative  columnists at the very least. Obviously she cost a bit more than that.

    You have to love (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Steve M on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 10:06:44 AM EST
    the extended subordinate clauses that he uses!  "I don't care about Mr. Ayers, a domestic terrorist who said on September 11, 2001 that he wished he had set more bombs, but..."  He throws an awful lot of surplus facts into the answer for a guy who doesn't care.

    According to AP, Univ. of Nebraska (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 11:20:30 AM EST
    just reneged on an invitation for Ayers to speak on campus.  

    The larger problem (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by OldCity on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 09:16:04 AM EST
    is the fact that the attacks and the inflammatory adds are creating an atmosphere of permissiveness among some McCain/Palin supporters to vent their vile beliefs.  I don't think it's reasonable to argue, as McCain has, that they folks at his rallies that are yelling represent the margins.  Those folks, in many ways, are just restating the McCain/Palin arguments in more explicit terms.

    The whole "socialist" premise, kills me.  The remark by Obama was the World Series of stupid, but it's hard to ascribe socialism to the Obama platform.  The larger issue is that the right is using "socialist" as some sort of epithet, and you're seeing (pardon me while I am elitist) a relatively uneducated demographic adopt it as a rallying cry, with no real understanding of the term or how it really applies to Obama.  Aside of that, this Republican administration just de facto nationalized some financial institutions.  That isn't socilaist?

    Nationalization.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 09:36:07 AM EST
    if it ain't socialism, it's fascism.

    I agree the whole premise is laughable...we've been a socialist country for a long time, albeit a mild form of socialism as compared to England or Venezuela.


    sans Palin (none / 0) (#4)
    by Howard Zinn on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 09:24:26 AM EST
    McCain would be running strong with "during these historically challenging times, we need tested and wise leaders in the White House."  Sure he can kinda make this point now, but it doesn't hit home w/the Palin selection and it's potential is reduced to a whisper issue as opposed to the centerpiece of the campaign.

    His prediction that this would be a referendum on Obama was based on the political landscape from 2 months ago.

    McCain could have been the tortoise vs. the hare if he had stayed true to himself.

    Morals, ethics, values, & our USA (none / 0) (#5)
    by wurman on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 09:24:33 AM EST
    WHAT IF . . .
    . . . George W. Bush, xliii, through some trick of fate & legislation, were running against Sen. Obama?  Would Obama be polling a lead of, let me guess, 65 - 30 with 5 undecided?

    So it bothers me, & I've puzzled till my puzzler is sore, that Bu$hLite, or Bu$h III, or McSame keeps the opinion polls hovering in the 50 - 43 with about 7 waffling.  Early on, before the Democratic nomination, I had thought (hoped?) that the overall repudiation of GOP policies by US voters would become very nearly complete--leaving only that lunatic rightwing fringe of about 20 to 25 percent of likely voters to support Sen. McCain.  And, as a frequent part of his stump speech variations, Sen. Obama focuses on "folks, look at what the Republican party has done to the USA."  Yet it doesn't resonate.

    In my apparently addled opinion, the Palin choice should have dropped McCain's polling numbers into the 30 to 35 percent range & the third debate should have put the GOP in the tank at under 30 percent.  It's difficult for me to accept that over 40 percent of the US population is so incomprehensibly stupid.  It seems as if 25% is plausible; 43% is ridiculous.

    If 62% of moderates can accurately assess the Palin nonsense, why doesn't that result in an approximate 57 - 35 - 8 opinion polling for Sen. Obama?  Are the polls skewed? inadequate? rigged? wrong?

    Apparently H. L. Mencken was absolutely correct.