Pew Research Poll: Growing Doubts About John McCain
The Pew Research Center released a new poll today. Shorter version: Voters have increasing doubts about John McCain's judgment, age and campaign conduct.
Currently, Obama enjoys his widest margin yet over McCain among registered voters, at 52% to 38%. When the sample of voters is narrowed to those most likely to vote, Obama leads by 53% to 39%.
On views of Obama:
More voters see him as “well-qualified” and “down-to-earth” than did so a month ago. Obama also is inspiring more confidence on several key issues, including Iraq and terrorism, than he did before the debates. Most important, Obama now leads McCain as the candidate best able to improve economic conditions by a wider margin (53% to 32%).
As for McCain: [More...]
[A] widespread loss of confidence in McCain appears to be the most significant factor in the race at this point. Many more voters express doubts about McCain’s judgment than about Obama’s: 41% see McCain as “having poor judgment,” while just 29% say that this trait describes Obama. Fewer voters also view McCain as inspiring than did so in mid-September (37% now, 43% then). By contrast, 71% of voters continue to think of Obama as inspiring.
Roughly a third (34%) now says that McCain is too old to be president; in the Sept. 9-14 survey, just 23% said this. At this stage in the 1996 campaign, about as many voters (32%) said Republican candidate Bob Dole was too old to be president.
On Sarah Palin:
Sarah Palin appears to be a continuing – if not an increasing – drag on the GOP ticket. Currently, 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin, while 44% have a favorable view. In mid-September, favorable opinions of Palin outnumbered negative ones by 54% to 32%. Women, especially women under age 50, have become increasingly critical of Palin: 60% now express an unfavorable view of Palin, up from 36% in mid-September. Notably, opinions of Palin have a greater impact on voting intentions than do opinions of Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate.
Obama's report card:
Obama, by contrast, receives the highest grades for a campaign dating to 1992. Nearly two-thirds of voters (65%) grade Obama’s efforts at convincing people to vote for him at A or B; about a third (32%) give Obama’s campaign a grade of C or lower.
Independents are trending away from McCain:
Most notably, he now trails Obama decidedly among political independents (51% to 33%). Yet he also has lost support among some voting blocs that previously had been strongly in his corner, including white evangelical Protestants and white men. McCain continues to lead Obama among older white men, but even here his margin over Obama has narrowed since mid-September.
On early voters:
The survey also finds that 31% of voters plan to vote before Election Day, or have already voted, compared with only 19% at this stage in 2004. Early voters lean heavily to Obama; 58% say they support Obama, compared with 34% for McCain.
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