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Thread: WSJ Poll: Pastor Flap Hasn't Hurt Obama Ratings

  1. #1
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    WSJ Poll: Pastor Flap Hasn't Hurt Obama Ratings

    Pastor Flap Hasn't Hurt Obama
    By JACKIE CALMES
    March 26, 2008 7:19 p.m.

    WASHINGTON -- The racially charged debate over Barack Obama's relationship with his longtime pastor hasn't much changed his close contest against Hillary Clinton, or hurt him against Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

    Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the Journal/NBC polls with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, called the latest poll a "myth-buster" that showed the pastor controversy is "not the beginning of the end for the Obama campaign."

    But both Democrats, and especially New York's Sen. Clinton, are showing wounds from their prolonged and increasingly bitter nomination contest, which could weaken the ultimate nominee for the general-election showdown against Sen. McCain of Arizona. Even among women, who are the base of Sen. Clinton's support, she now is viewed negatively by more voters than positively for the first time in a Journal/NBC poll.


    The latest survey has the Democratic rivals in a dead heat, each with 45% support from registered Democratic voters. That is a slight improvement for Sen. Obama, though a statistically insignificant one, from the last Journal/NBC poll two weeks ago, which had Sen. Clinton leading among Democratic voters, 47% to 43%.

    While Sen. Clinton still leads among white Democrats, her edge shrank to eight points (49% to 41%) from 12 points in early March (51% to 39%). That seems to refute widespread speculation -- and fears among Sen. Obama's backers -- that he would lose white support for his bid to be the nation's first African-American president over the controversy surrounding his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. of Chicago.

    Had that erosion happened, party leaders' reassessment of Sen. Obama's electability could have tipped the race to Sen. Clinton's favor. Weathering the episode could strengthen his standing among the party leaders nationwide -- the superdelegates -- whose votes are likely to break the impasse.

    Beyond the nomination race, in hypothetical matchups for November's election Sen. Obama still edges Sen. McCain 44% to 42%. That is nearly the same result as in the early March poll, before videos of Mr. Wright's most fiery sermons spread over the Internet. But Sen. Clinton, who likewise had a narrow advantage over Sen. McCain in the earlier survey, trails in this one by two points, 44% to his 46%.

    The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday, a week after Sen. Obama delivered a generally well-received address on race. The poll's margin for error is 3.7 percentage points for questions put to a cross-section of 700 registered voters, and slightly higher for those questions put only to subgroups of Democratic, Republican or black voters.

    As reassuring as the poll is for Sen. Obama, Mr. Hart and Mr. McInturff agreed that it did indicate that a substantial number of voters question whether the first-term senator would be a safe choice, or whether more needs to be known about him. Mr. McInturff said some voters are wondering, "Do we know enough about this guy?"

    While the senator's support among Democrats is little changed, he did slip among conservatives and Republican voters, groups that had shown some attraction to Sen. Obama's message of changing partisan politics in Washington.

    "I think the survey does indicate that this has taken a little of the patina off Sen. Obama," Mr. McInturff said.

    But the pollster also saw "some evidence here that Sen. Obama's speech did him well." The candidate's support for his handling of the Wright matter was stronger among those voters who said they saw his 37-minute speech.

    In the Philadelphia address, which Sen. Obama wrote and titled "A More Perfect Union," he criticized his former pastor for his condemnations of the U.S. for its injustices to blacks, but refused to renounce him.

    He also sought to explain to both blacks and whites the grievances that each holds against the other, while urging both to recognize their real enemies are shared ones -- chiefly economic and educational inequality, and the job losses from globalization.

    The Clinton campaign had steered clear of the Wright controversy, until Sen. Clinton this week told interviewers she would have found a new minister had hers made the remarks Mr. Wright did. Sen. Obama for two decades has attended the 8,000-member Chicago church where Mr. Wright, who retired recently, was pastor.

    The negativity of the Obama-Clinton contest seems to be hurting Sen. Clinton more, the poll shows. A 52% majority of all voters says she doesn't have the background or values they identify with. But 50% say Sen. Obama does share their values, and 57% agree that Sen. McCain does.

    Also, fewer voters hold positive views of Sen. Clinton than did so just two weeks ago in the Journal/NBC poll. Among all voters, 48% have negative feelings toward her and 37% positive, a decline from a net positive 45% to 43% rating in early March. While 51% of African-American voters have positive views, that is down 12 points from earlier this month, before the Wright controversy.

    More ominous for Sen. Clinton is the net-negative rating she drew for the first time from women, one of the groups where she has drawn most support. In this latest poll, voters with negative views narrowly outstrip those with positive ones, 44% to 42%. That compares with her positive rating from 51% of women in the earlier March poll.

    Both she and Sen. Obama showed five-point declines in positive ratings from white voters. But where she is viewed mostly negatively, by 51% to 34% of whites, Sen. Obama's gets a net positive rating, by 42% to 37%. Among all voters, he maintained a significant positive-to-negative score of 49% to 32%—similar to Sen. McCain's 45% to 25%.

    The toll on both Democrats from their rhetorical brawling is evident in these poll findings: About a fifth of Clinton voters say they would support Sen. McCain if she isn't the Democratic nominee, and likewise a fifth of Obama voters say they would do the same if he isn't the party standard-bearer.

    Write to Jackie Calmes at [email]jackie.calmes@wsj.com[/email]

  2. #2
    sorry i don't believe the WSJ

    i believe conservative JI posters who say Obama is done

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=bitonti;2452016]sorry i don't believe the WSJ

    i believe conservative JI posters who say Obama is done[/QUOTE]

    Its true that they do know more then sites like the Wall Street Journal :zzz:

    we have one Mensa Candidate at this forum who continues to bash the idea of climate change by using sites funded by oil companies as "evidence". You can't make this s*** up.

  4. #4
    I think my new sig says it all.

  5. #5
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    I was patiently waiting for CBNY to tell us why the WSJ is a left-wing nutpaper. Of course, I'm also waiting for the learned Jetsbabe to define "separatism." :rolleyes:

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=long island leprechaun;2452082]I was patiently waiting for CBNY to tell us why the WSJ is a left-wing nutpaper. Of course, I'm also waiting for the learned Jetsbabe to define "separatism." :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

    Nah, they're in love with the poll showing some Hillary people say they won't vote for Obama. Conservatism is about picking out a few favorable facts and repeating them to exclusion of all else.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=fukushimajin;2452092]Nah, they're in love with the poll showing some Hillary people say they won't vote for Obama. Conservatism is about picking out a few favorable facts and repeating them to exclusion of all else.[/QUOTE]

    Nah, we're more into making self-righteous, sweeping and inaccurate straw-men generalizations about those who deign to disagree with us.

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2452034]Its true that they do know more then sites like the Wall Street Journal :zzz:

    we have one Mensa Candidate at this forum who continues to bash the idea of climate change by using sites funded by oil companies as "evidence". You can't make this s*** up.[/QUOTE]

    Don't forget about the genius who cites mediamatters.com as evidence of bias at Fox News.:yes:

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=HDCentStOhio;2452131]Don't forget about the genius who cites mediamatters.com as evidence of bias at Fox News.:yes:[/QUOTE]

    You can't make that **** up either.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=jets5ever;2452105]Nah, we're more into making self-righteous, sweeping and inaccurate straw-men generalizations about those who deign to disagree with us.[/QUOTE]

    What I would actually hope for is that ALL labels and name-calling be eliminated from this forum in the interest of real discussion. The sound-bite war is plainly stupid, whether it's conservative or liberal in its intentions. So count me in if we can actually move forward to "zero-tolerance" for the name game. I'll gladly stop calling CBNY a "neo-conman," if he stops calling me a "leftwing nutcase." Especially given the fact that I'm actually a registered independent and more centrist than he might believe. I just don't like phony arguments for either side.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=jets5ever;2452105]Nah, we're more into making self-righteous, sweeping and inaccurate straw-men generalizations about those who deign to disagree with us.[/QUOTE]

    Yes, you do that as well.

    Also:

    "Don't forget about the genius who cites mediamatters.com as evidence of bias at Fox News."


    For those that don't know, Media Matters is run by a former Conservative Arch-Demon who wrote "The Real Anita Hill" but who left the party because he was gay -- and I presume was disgusted with the gay-bashing. The right hates Matt Brock because he turned on them after being really close to some of their "leading lights" (Coulter, Podhoretz, Ingraham etc.) He describes the hit-job he did, with lavish right-wing funding, in painstaking detail which has never been rebutted. He is also hated because his work is dead-on. It should not, however, be cited as anything other than his attempt to crap on his former friends. I don't like guys who switch sides generally, but I'm willing to excuse someone who does so because his/her party turned an issue against their race, gender etc.

    Does anyone know if there is a former lefty who turned into a right-winger in today's media?

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=JerseyJet2007;2452154]You can't make that **** up either.[/QUOTE]

    He also cited thinkprogress.com as "evidence".

  13. #13
    My impression of how this has played out is as follows:

    -) It hasn't hurt Obama much among democrats or independents. Polling suggests they were taken aback by Wright's staements, but ultimately convinced by the speech that follows that Obama doesn't share those sentiments. I'm sure he'll poll a little worse among blue-collar white ethnics as a result, but it won't be a material difference.

    -) It has energized the right wing against him. That group previously appeared to be somewhat apathetic about opposing Obama, in a "didn't really know how to attack him and didn't love McCain much anyhow so who cares?" sort of way. Now they know how to go after him and seem somewhat energized about doing so.

    There had been a thought that only Hillary could energize the right-wing base this year. That's probably no longer the case, as Jeremiah Wright seems to have done that.

    That's not good, except that when the right wing gets fired up, the left wing generally coalesces and pushes back -- which could go a long way toward uniting the democratic base behind Obama after a contentious primary.

    Assuming Obama is the nominee, it's hard to predict how it all plays out, except that it will be closer than it otherwise would have been.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2452210]My impression of how this has played out is as follows:

    -) It hasn't hurt Obama much among democrats or independents. Polling suggests they were taken aback by Wright's staements, but ultimately convinced by the speech that follows that Obama doesn't share those sentiments. I'm sure he'll poll a little worse among blue-collar white ethnics as a result, but it won't be a material difference.

    -) It has energized the right wing against him. That group previously appeared to be somewhat apathetic about opposing Obama, in a "didn't really know how to attack him and didn't love McCain much anyhow so who cares?" sort of way. Now they know how to go after him and seem somewhat energized about doing so.

    There had been a thought that only Hillary could energize the right-wing base this year. That's probably no longer the case, as Jeremiah Wright seems to have done that.

    That's not good, except that when the right wing gets fired up, the left wing generally coalesces and pushes back -- which could go a long way toward uniting the democratic base behind Obama after a contentious primary.

    Assuming Obama is the nominee, it's hard to predict how it all plays out, except that it will be closer than it otherwise would have been.[/QUOTE]


    I agree -- but I do think, in the end Obama's ability to be frank an honest about it will be the "killing blow" with Independents who are looking to move away from the Republicans anyway.

  15. #15
    [QUOTE=fukushimajin;2452232]I agree -- but I do think, in the end Obama's ability to be frank an honest about it will be the "killing blow" with Independents who are looking to move away from the Republicans anyway.[/QUOTE]

    Agreed.

    I suspect that there are enough big issues on the table this year --Iraq, a real shot at universal health insurance, Bush tax cuts-- that the sideshow nonsense (Macaca, Willie Horton, Swift Boats, Keating 5, whatever) won't matter nearly as much this year anyhow.

    These are massive, easy-to-grasp issue differences that won't be lost on average voters. They actually have a choice this year.

    Combine that with the decent-for-politics nature of both Obama and McCain, and you'll probably have a pretty substantive campaign focused on issue choices.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=long island leprechaun;2452082]I was patiently waiting for CBNY to tell us why the WSJ is a left-wing nutpaper. Of course, I'm also waiting for the learned Jetsbabe to define "separatism." :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

    Aanother thread and another attempt by a lunatic leftist to pull me in...it's good to see I'm in your head this much....:yes:

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=HDCentStOhio;2452131]Don't forget about the genius who cites mediamatters.com as evidence of bias at Fox News.:yes:[/QUOTE]

    But he's superintelligentmensaomnipotentjetsfan. He must be right regardless of his sources.

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=HDCentStOhio;2452191]He also cited thinkprogress.com as "evidence".[/QUOTE]

    Thinkprogress is just as much "evidence" as the National Review Online is.
    BTW, im curious, is there anything that you saw on thinkprogress that you know to be a falsehood?

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2452459]Thinkprogress is just as much "evidence" as the National Review Online is.
    BTW, im curious, is there anything that you saw on thinkprogress that you know to be a falsehood?[/QUOTE]

    It's cute to see you rush to the defense of your boyfriend.

  20. #20
    [QUOTE=HDCentStOhio;2452663]It's cute to see you rush to the defense of your boyfriend.[/QUOTE]

    Im not rushing to anyones defense. Im simply pointing out the ignorance in your post. Is thinkprogress a bias source? Absolutely. But it still qualifies as a source, just like NRO and Drudge.

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