Poll Finds Public Wary of Palin’s Qualifications

Posted October 6, 2008 at 2:46pm

The performance of GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska in the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate failed to convince most voters that she is qualified to be president, according to a new survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

The poll, conducted over the past weekend, found that while 55 percent of voters have a positive view of Palin, only 42 percent believe she is ready to be president. Fifty-two percent say Palin is not qualified to be president, while 6 percent say they don’t know. Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.) is viewed favorably by 63 percent of voters and is seen as qualified for the presidency by 77 percent.

Those surveyed had also been polled before the debate. While Palin received good reviews for her performance — 65 percent rated her positively — the resulting improvement to her image was marginal at best. Her favorability rating rose only 4 points — within the poll’s 4.5 percent margin of error — and the view of her as being qualified to be president grew by only 2 points. Roughly eight in 10 voters said Biden did a good or excellent job during the debate. Only 16 percent say he is not be qualified to be president.

The weekend polling also finds the public divided over the financial system bailout plan passed last week by Congress, with 42 percent saying it was the right thing to do and 39 percent saying it was not. The result marks a drop from a Sept. 19-22 poll that found 57 percent saying the bailout package was the correct thing to do and 30 percent saying it was the wrong move.