Overall, Obama leads McCain 47%-41%, but Democrats are much more excited about voting for Obama than Republicans are about supporting McCain. Forty four percent of Obama voters said that they were excited about voting for him compared to 14% of McCain voters who said that they were excited to vote for the Arizona senator. In fact, 44% of McCain supporters considered him the lesser of two evils.
The poll asked respondents if they focused on the kind of president Barack Obama would be or the kind of president that John McCain would be, and by a margin of 51%-27% they were focused on Obama. The Democrat crushed McCain in the personal qualities section of the poll. Voters found Obama to be more likable (59%-15%), offering more hope and optimism (54%-19%), being more compassionate (46%-22%), and improving America’s standing in the world (44%-30%).
McCain led in the qualities of leadership (42%-31%), being a good commander in chief (54%-25%), and having the experience to handle the presidency (53%-19%). By a margin of 55%-35% Obama was deemed the riskier choice for president.
The most interesting thing about this poll is that it gives us a snapshot of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. Obama’s strengths are his personality and his desire for change. McCain strengths are that he is experienced and is the known quantity in this race. It seems that with 87% of those surveyed believing that the nation is on the wrong track, Americans want change, but it is up to Barack Obama to prove that he can handle the job.
Most of us who have written about this election from the very beginning tend to forget that Barack Obama is an unknown individual to many causal voters. They know McCain from his decades on the national scene, but Obama is the new guy, and although they are intrigued by him, it seems that many Americans want to know more before they feel comfortable putting him in charge.
This is why Obama’s current international trip is so critical. This week American voters have a chance to see what he looks like on the world stage. It is a chance for Obama to look presidential, and perhaps ease the minds of some voters who are not sure about him yet. Thus far, Obama has won almost universal praise for his trip, and I suspect that all of this media attention will give him a bounce in the upcoming polls.