Obama’s Negatives Rise, Clinton Tops McCain in New Poll

By Ed O'Keefe

Apr 30, 2008 6:40pm

ABC News’ Ed O’Keefe Reports: Barack Obama’s recent woes may be having an effect in the polls.

A new CBS/New York Times poll released on Wednesday shows Sen. Obama, D-Ill., and presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., tied in a hypothetical general election match-up, while Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., edges out McCain by a five-point margin.

Here are raw CBS/New York Times numbers now (among registered voters):

If the candidates were Obama and McCain, who would you vote for?
Obama: 45%
McCain: 45%
Undecided/Don’t Know: 6%

If the candidates were Clinton and McCain, who would you vote for?
Clinton: 48%
McCain: 43%
Undecided/Don’t Know: 5%

"Barack Obama’s problems over the last few weeks, including his Pennsylvania primary loss and the continuing media coverage of his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, may have contributed to his weaker position compared to two weeks ago," read an analysis released by CBS and the New York Times.

Since their last poll four weeks ago, unfavorable views of Obama have risen 10% — from 24% a month ago to 34% at present.  Obama’s woes also appear to know few demographic bounds — unfavorable views of Obama have risen among women, whites, independents and Democrats, according to CBS News and the New York Times.

Here are the raw CBS/New York Times numbers as of their last poll on April 3, 2008 (among registered voters):

If the candidates were Obama and McCain, who would you vote for?
Obama: 47%
McCain: 42%
Undecided/Don’t Know: 7%

If the candidates were Clinton and McCain, who would you vote for?
Clinton: 48%
McCain: 43%
Undecided/Don’t Know: 5%

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Monday found similar results.

In that poll, Clinton leads McCain by 9-points, 50-41, in a hypothetical general election match-up.  Obama, on the other hand, is "virtually tied" with McCain, at 46-44 percent. 

Obama strongly condemned recent comments made by his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, on Tuesday, a move that many political pundits consider high-stakes but necessary gamble by his campaign to control a spreading political firestorm.

Reacting to what he called the "spectacle" of his former pastor at the National Press Club, Obama denounced Wright saying, "What Rev. Wright said yesterday directly contradicts everything I have ever done or said in my life."

"Whatever relationship I had with Rev Wright has changed as a result of this," Obama said.

The candidate went considerably further than he has in the past in distancing himself from Wright, accusing him of "insensitivity and outrageousness" in his Monday appearance at the National Press Club in Washington.

"The person I saw (on Monday) was not the person I met 20 years ago," Obama said.

So, let’s focus on Barack Obama and his campaign and see where things stand in aftermath of latest Rev. Wright events.

In his exclusive blog on ABCNews.com, former Bush campaign strategist and ABC News political contributor Matthew Dowd opined that "Obama’s statements in last 24 hours of being passionately critical of Wright and saying he was out of step with America were the only choice he had left. It was his only option and he seized it well."

Dowd laid out four points he views as critical to an Obama comeback emphasizing, "The biggest damage to him is that he held a brand of being an unconventional candidate in a time America wants a shift from the conduct of politics as usual. But he and his campaign have seemed very conventional of late."

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