Obama Out to Big Lead in Newsweek Poll

Posted April 19, 2008 at 1:22pm

A Newsweek poll shows Barack Obama running away with the Democratic contest, building a 54 percent to 35 percent lead over Hillary Clinton, compared to its last poll in early March that had the two in a dead heat. The poll was conducted April 16-17, which means it probably did not reflect any great impact due to the last debate, and had a 3 point margin of error. It reflect the same trend as a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted April 10-13 which had Obama moving ahead by 10 points, but stands in contrast to the sometimes mysterious Gallup daily tracking poll which today has Clinton *in a statistical tie* with Obama, with her ahead 46 percent to 45 percent. That poll, conducted April 16-18, has a margin of error of 3 percent.

Like the Post/ABC News poll and a slew of state polls, Clinton is suffering more and more from a perception among voters that see her as dishonest and untrustworthy. Voters hold that view by 51 percent to 41 percent, while 61 percent say both Obama and McCain are honest and trustworthy. Newsweek says, “The results suggest that Clinton was damaged more by being caught in a tall tale about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire than Obama has been by his recent controversies, including the firestorm of criticism provoked by the Illinois senator’s remarks that blue-collar voters “cling” to religion, guns and other issues because of their bitterness.” But at the same time, as the contentious Democratic campaign goes on, Obama;s favorability rating has dropped 4 points to 57 percent and his unfavorable rating has climbed 8 points to 36 percent, while Clinton’s favorability rating has dropped 7 points to 49 percent and her unfavorable rating rose 7 poinrts to 47 percent since the last poll.

The poll showed one potential Achilles Heel for John McCain. Thirty-six percent of voters believe that his age – 71 – will hurt his chances of winning the presidency.