Poll: Bush a Liability for McCain
A new NBC/WSJ poll shows that being seen as too close to George W. Bush is bringing John McCain down. I’m pretty sure that Peter Hart and Neil Newhouse already knew that, since I did, but it’s good to put a number on these things (43 percent, as it turns out).
Other interesting findings:
- 36 percent have major concerns that Clinton seems to change her position on some issues (like driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which her husband signed but which she now opposes)
- 34 percent say they’re bothered by Obama’s “bitter” remarks
- 32 percent have a major problem with the Illinois senator’s past associations with Wright and the 1960s radical William Ayers
- 27 percent have serious concerns that Bill Clinton would have too much influence on U.S. policy decisions if his wife is elected
I’d be interested in the crosstabs on these, however. Are the people with these “concerns” and “problems” supporters of the other candidate? Republicans? Indeed, given that 43-45 percent of the public is predisposed to vote for McCain against either Obama or Clinton, it’s surprising that the numbers on all three questions are so small. They may actually be non-problems. [Update: I emailed Newhouse and he points out that these are major and serious concerns and that the numbers “flatten out” when adding in those with moderate concerns.]
The poll also seems to confirm that McCain was the Republicans’ best option in this environment:
Indeed, even though Democrats have an 18-point advantage over Republicans in a generic presidential ballot test (51-33 percent), this latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows Obama besting McCain by only three points (46-43 percent) and Clinton topping the Arizona senator by only one (45-44 percent).
“This poll,” Newhouse said, “continues to show a very difficult road for Republicans in the fall — with the exception of John McCain, who is running toe to toe with the Democrats.”
We’ll see what those numbers do once the Democrats have a nominee, though. The winner (almost certainly Obama, despite Bittergate and the Wright flap) will assuredly get a significant bounce; whether they’ll keep it is another question.