Opinion: Poll shows Rev. Jeremiah Wright hurting Barack Obama


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Who knows how long the Rev. Jeremiah Wright brouhaha will play out, but revelations of Barack Obama‘s pastor’s objectionable sermons have apparently eroded public perceptions of Obama, according to a fresh analysis by the Rasmussen Report tracking poll.

With the Wright episode playing out over the past few days, the poll found Obama’s favorable rating nationally had dropped five points to 47% since Thursday, and his unfavorable rating had risen from 44% to 50%. Among white voters, the unfavorable numbers jumped to 54%. The poll also found John McCain leading both Obama and Hillary Clinton in head-to-head national matchups, whereas a week ago they they were essentially tied.

Of course, the Democrats have to pick between Obama and Clinton before the head-to-head matters, which is as unresolved as ever. This is beginning to feel a little bit like Florida 2000, when the nation suddenly learned the meaning of arcane terms like ‘hanging chad.’ This time around, we’re becoming experts on Democratic superdelegates, while trying shake off images of well-fed Democrats in tights and capes.


The folks at MSNBC’s First Read point out that although Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama in superdelegates -- something we dissected earlier today day -- she hasn’t picked up any fresh superdelegates since Super Tuesday. In fact, First Read’s count shows Obama gained 47 superdelegates since then while Clinton lost seven -- including former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

So, what does that mean? Uncertainty about Clinton by party insiders while Obama was running up a dozen victories in a row? A desire to wait and see if a wind is blowing in any discernible direction by convention time in August? A look over in the other lane at McCain’s taillights?

Hard to say. But what is intriguing is how the narrative of the campaign has inverted itself. Remember when the Republicans were splintered and unhappy with their candidates, and the Democrats united in their confidence of winning the White House? Now the Democrats are split, the tone has become nastier, and with war sputtering on and the economy causing all sorts of indigestion, the political discourse is being dominated by race and gender.

Who says politics is boring?

-- Scott Martelle