Americans are divided 46 percent to 46 percent on whether Barack Obama has enough experience to be President, according to this USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Feb. 21-24. By contrast, 65 percent of voters believe Hillary Clinton has the right experience and 70 percent say that of John McCain. Looked at another way, Gallup asked who among the three is most ready to become President, and 49 percent said McCain, 30 percent said Clinton and 16 percent said Obama. Just among Democrats, 56 percent said Clinton was the most ready, 21 percent said Obama and 18 percent said McCain. Forty-nine percent of Independents named McCain first, followed by Clinton at 25 percent and Obama at 18 percent. Eighty-six percent of Republicans named McCain.
All that being said, experience is not the most important, or only, factor to voters. Forty-two percent said the most important factor was leadership and vision, 34 percent said it was the candidate’s position on issues, and 22 percent cited experience.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll published today asked Democrats the question in a different way: which is more important, strength and experience, or new direction and new ideas? The responses were evenly split, 45 percent and 46 percent respectively.