Trouble In River City

By Jennifer Parker

May 5, 2008 9:30am

The latest New York Times/CBS poll has Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. Hillary Clinton nationally — 50%-38%.

But Rev. Jeremiah Wright lingers.

The Times reports that "nearly half of the voters surveyed, and a substantial part of the Democrats" said that Obama condemned and distanced himself from Wright "because he thought it would help him politically, rather than because he had serious disagreements with his former pastor. The broader effect of the controversy on Mr. Obama’s candidacy among Democratic primary voters was less clear in the poll, but enough of them expressed qualms about Mr. Obama’s relationship with Mr. Wright to suggest it could sway a relatively small but potentially important group of voters in the remaining primaries."

Even worse news for Obama comes in the free newspaper outside his hotel door this morning.

In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll Obama goes from 10 points up two weeks ago to seven points behind.

In February Democrats and those who leaned Democrats thought Obama — by 33 points — was more likely to beat Sen. John McCain in November. Clinton now leads in that category by five points.

Other poll findings:

"One in four Americans who are following the controversy say their ‘best guess’ is that Obama agrees with Wright’s views, even though the senator has said repeatedly he finds them offensive and wrong. Obama has lost the 8-point advantage he held over Clinton in February as someone who ‘shares your values.’ Clinton has a 5-point edge among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents."

The rare good news: His favorable/unfavorable ratings are still better than Clinton’s — 58%-37% compared to Clinton’s 52%-45%. And he leads Clinton by 14 percentage points as honest and trustworthy.

- jpt

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