Today's news is that Barack Obama enjoys his widest margin yet in the Pew Poll over John 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%.
Barack Obama’s strong showing in the current poll reflects greater confidence in the Democratic candidate personally. More voters see him as “well-qualified” and “down-to-earth” than did so a month ago. Barack 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%).
Barack Obama’s lead over John McCain has steadily increased since mid-September, when the race was essentially even. Shortly after the first presidential debate in September, Obama moved to a 49% to 42% lead; that margin inched up to 50% to 40% in a poll taken just after the second debate.
Widespread loss of confidence in John McCain also appears to be a significant factor in the race at this point. Many more voters express doubts about John McCain’s judgment than about Barack Obama’s. A steadily growing number of voters say that John McCain has been too personally critical of Barack Obama, and a lot fewer voters view John McCain as inspiring than did at the beginning of this campaign. John McCain's smear tactics seem to have tarnished his image more than anything else. By contrast, 71% of voters continue to think of Obama as inspiring.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 16-19 among 2,599 registered voters interviewed on landline phones and cell phones, finds that McCain’s age also has become more of an issue for voters. Roughly a third says that John McCain is too old to be president. The numbers are slightly more than those who saw candidate Bob Dole as too old to be president in 1996.
Sarah Palin continues to to be a drag on the John McCain with 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin. In mid-September, Sarah Palin's favorable opinions outnumbered negative ones by 54% to 32%. Women, especially women under age 50, have become increasingly critical of Sarah Palin, with 60% now expressing an unfavorable view of Sarah Palin, up from 36% in mid-September.