Today the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released their latest national polls, which shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by 14 points, 52%-38% with registered voters. While voters are become more confident in Obama, they are questioning McCain’s judgment, and age, while Sarah Palin continues to drag the GOP ticket down.
In the September survey, Obama lead McCain 47%-38% on the question which candidate would do a better job handling the economy. This month, Obama has jumped to a 21 point on the economy question, and now leads McCain, 53%-32%. Voter opinions of who would do a better job handling Iraq has completely flipped. In September, McCain led Obama, 48%-41%, now Obama leads McCain 48%-42%.
Obama gained 6 points with Independent voters in a week, and now leads McCain 51%-33%. Obama leads McCain among men, 49%-42%, and women, 55%-35%. He also leads McCain 53%-36% among voters who have a high school education or less. Obama and McCain are tied at 45% with while male voters. The candidates are also tied at 44% with those over age 65. Obama leads with both Protestant and Catholic voters. McCain leads with white evangelicals.
Age has become an issue for McCain with 34% of those surveyed saying that he is too old to be president. Interestingly, in 1996, 32% of those surveyed thought Bob Dole was too old to be president. Voters expressed more doubts about McCain’s judgment than Obama’s. Forty one percent of voters described McCain as having poor judgment, compared to 29% who felt that way about Obama. The negative campaign is also hurting McCain, as 56% believed that McCain is being too personally critical of Obama. This is a fourteen percent jump since last month.
Sarah Palin continues to be a weight around John McCain’s neck. Her approval rating is now into negative territory as 44% of voters approve of her, and 49% disapprove. Reaction against her is strongest with women under 50, who give her a 60% disapproval rating. In blunt terms, the demographic that Palin was added to the ticket to attract, has rejected her. Palin’s disapproval rating jumped 13% in a month. This is largely due to her poor media appearances, and less than convincing debate performance.
The only area where McCain continues to lead is that voters see him as more qualified than Obama to be president, but McCain’s qualifications are being some what negated by his age, and his running mate’s lack of qualifications. McCain tried to use the debates to undermine confidence in Obama, but instead, he undermined confidence in his own candidacy. The most damaging aspect for McCain is that voters seem to have lost confidence in him. We still have two weeks to go, and even though these numbers look good for Obama it isn’t election day yet. A lot can happen in two weeks.