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Voter Views on McCain's Temperament

By Jon Cohen
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain's temperament came under close scrutiny in Michael Leahy's big piece in yesterday's paper, and his disposition may be a factor in the November election. Nearly half of voters in the new Post-ABC poll believe his temperament would hamper the Arizona senator in the White House.

Overall, 48 percent of all Americans in the poll released last week said McCain's temperament would hurt his ability to serve effectively as president. Fewer, 37 percent, said his often strident tenor would make him more successful.

Three in 10 Republicans and about four in 10 conservatives and white evangelical Protestants alike think McCain's temperament would prove to be a negative factor as president. Among independents, the crucial swing voters, nearly half said his temperament would hurt his effectiveness, with independent women particularly apt to take the negative view. (About two-thirds of Democrats agree.)

Continue reading at Behind The Numbers »

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 21, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  The Pollster  
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Next: McCain Responds to Post Story on Temperament


it's funny that the media is willing to write about his temper, but ignore McCain's hypocracy regarding campaign finance reform, his begging for support from racist homophobic antisemitic preachers, his history of contradictions regarding tax cuts, the fact that his wife was a drug addict and stole them from a charity (yes, she really stole drugs!), and his lies regarding his postions on the war and saying it would be easy

Posted by: fverona | April 21, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse


obama nice

hillary not nice

ad 4 hillary:

image: mean, harsh mommy who loves you

push leadership, play fear-factor

ad 4 obama

image: lincoln, jack kennedy, robert kennedy, martin luther king, prince of camelot

attributes: noble, charm, smile, smart, capable, thoughtful, decent


note to obama

just keep doing what ever you're doing (the primaries r the hardest part & u won)

don't worry re: the repubs; you'll cream mccain !

congratulations! President Obama


Posted by: mad ave ad | April 21, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

To bd, that story was a smear job. It was old recycled lies. The lies were brought up in 2000 and debunked. Didn't you notice the story had anonymous sources.

Get some new material. Did you believe the lies about McCain from South Carolina too.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

McCain pressed on 'Islamic' terror label

An aide to Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who is counting on his pro-Iraq war stance to attract conservative voters, said the senator from Arizona will not drop the word.

Should McCain drop the adjective "Islamic" to describe terrorists and extremist enemies of the United States?


Posted by: Frank, Austin TX | April 21, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Golly Gee Tennessee,

Do ya think maybe Obamabots might try to make it an Issue? :-/

Posted by: RAT-The | April 21, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

if everyone knows omama and clintons have a temper then it was reported

Posted by: wwzink01 | April 21, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Once again, we see the hand of far-left George Soros in American politics. He's having war-room meetings to get media support to smear Republicans in advance of the elections. Articles like this smell of yellow journalism.

Posted by: Freedom Lover | April 21, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse




M C C L I N T O N !

Neocons for Hillary

Posted by: NEOCONS FOR HILLARY | April 21, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

As soon as he won in NH I said, "his temper will do him in once he gets to the general election and the media starts badgering him."

Wait and see. obama is a picture of cool. McCain is a loose cannon who is out of his league.

Posted by: Barf | April 21, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Stalin was a bit of a hot head, too.

Posted by: theantibush | April 21, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The Fed has become a very political organization, and follows orders from the President and the Treasury. Bush has wanted the appearance of a booming economy, so the Fed does their part. Didn't McCain recently suggest that the economy may be better now than it was seven years ago? Hasn't he suggested a summer gas moratorium on the gas tax, which is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. We have a crumbling bridge and interstate system and this is where the revenue to repair it comes from. And most intelligent people recognize that govt should be encouraging alternative energy development, not encouraging gas consumption. McCain did say he didn't know much about economics and he's right.

Posted by: Javalation | April 21, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Not to get off topic here, but does anybody else think it strange that Sen. McCain would be against health care when he has been on the Govt. dole since he was born!

Posted by: ArmyVet86 | April 21, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Why do you Repubs think it is important that your candidate understand economic theory? It's not as though he's running for President!

By the way, look at how your family vcalues guy cheated on wife number 1 with this rich one. Following the tradition of Newt who dumped his wife right after her cancer operation.

Posted by: Harry | April 21, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

> Obama is the one who wants to launch war with pakistan.

That's not what he said. He said he'd be willing to strike at Osama, even if Osama were in Pakistan.

McCain is the one who said he wouldn't do that without waiting for prior approval (and letting Osama escape).

Why do you think we STILL haven't caught Osama after all this time? Instead, we end up fighting extra wars. I don't doubt that the Republicans will make a case to invade Iran next. I wouldn't have believed that before Iraq, but now... And note that I said "the Republicans" not McCain. I think that McCain is a decent person, but I have no trust in the party right now. Given all the false intelligence they've fed the public, I expect we'll be told that they have nukes right now and that we have to invade.

Even though, assuming all the prior information we were fed is good, they were many years away from having even a small bomb. After all, enriching uranium is a difficult and expensive process, even if you can find out how to do it on Wikipedia these days. No, I'm not kidding about that last part.

Posted by: Joe | April 21, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

How funny to bash the Democrats now. Our country is spending over 400 million a day for a bungled war that even Republicans regret (except for the ancient one), the economy is beyond awful and you think you will win this election?

We are led by a smiling fool who hasn't a clue what to do, and has the most negative ratings sine King George.

Posted by: Harry | April 21, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say I thought the FED was doing a good job but they do shape the economy of our country and possibly the world more than any other single institution. It's just a fact.

Nevertheless, the President is not, never has been and never will be our Chief Economist. So, the "John McCain knows nothing about the economy" line is purely bogus and inconsequential.

Posted by: bdubw | April 21, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The simple fact is John McCain is a psychopath who will be a real danger to America if he becomes President. He would be worse than GWBush. He should seek psychiatric counseling immediately, but, being the old angry man he is, we know he won't.

Posted by: dsrobins | April 21, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TOM e. | April 21, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

BTW- the FED is a private company/bank that has RUINED this country's monetary policy. They manipulate currency, cause artificial inflation, and most people don't know that the people who print and control our money are in no way shape or form, LINKED to our government.

If those people wanted to crash our economy in order to make themselves richer (look at Dick Cheney's investments-- 85% foreign)-- then by all means they will do so. They don't care if you can afford to pay your bills or fill up your car with gas--so long as they get theirs..

Posted by: Nik | April 21, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

McCain to his wife: At least I don't slather makeup on like a trollop, you c**t. In public.

There's your family values man. These stories are far from the only ones out there. The evidence is overwhelming unless you just choose not to see. He's not a tough-talkin' man's man. He is dangerously unstable.

Posted by: bd | April 21, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't get this Economic slant people are using against McCain.

Listen, the President has never been or never will be our Chief Economist. The President will appoint a new Treasury Secretary. This person will be an expert in the economy and financial markets. He/She will run fiscal policy. We also have an institution called the FED. They are independent of the administration and they run monetary poliy. These people are experts on our economy. I doubt seriously Obama or Clinton know any more about the economy than McCain. It's really all rhetoric. I grant you maybe Mac needs a better speech writer on economic policy.

Our next leader doesn't need to be an Economist or financial expert. We have plenty of those. He needs to be a center or right of center leader (because that's what makes up this country, reasonable people). In my opinion McCain is the only choice.

Posted by: bdubw | April 21, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TOM e. | April 21, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Jason, how about waiting to comment until you see other posts that are pro-McCain besides yours. It may take awhile.

Posted by: Anti-Jason | April 21, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse


I agree with you that Clinton is a horrible candidate. I am voting for Obama, because he is the agent of change that this country so desperately needs.

I don't think McCain will necessarily be a BAD president-- but out of the 3 candidates, I think Obama is the best choice. That's all.

Posted by: Nik | April 21, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Nik, McCain was the chairman of the commerce committee.

He knows far more about economics than Obama or Clinton.

What in the hell is their experience. Nothing.

Look at how Clinton runs her campaign.

She is still in the red. She doesn't pay back her debts. She is involved in credit fraud.

She doesn't pay back the little vendors. She spends more than she takes in. She wasn't even aware that she was going broke.

Candidate Clinton has never run anything involving economics.

McCain's comment was distorted he said he knew more about national security but he was the chairman of the commerce committee that dealt with all the major economic issues.

Clinton had Mark Penn running her campaign.

She hires inept people because of loyalty.

Look at candidate Clinton's balance sheet.

Look at her health care history.

What has candidate Clinton ever run. Her management of her campaign has been inept.

Candidate Clinton is inept on economics.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Frank, McCain wants to import drugs from Canada. McCain is for stem cell research.

Frank, McCain is deeply involved in global warming. McCain gives far more access to new media than Obama or Clinton. McCain did an interview with youtube.

Frank do you get your talking points from Howard Dean.

This election is a joke. Clinton is a serial liar how the left can get on McCain when they have a candidate Clinton is a joke.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Frank, McCain has worked on every major national security issue for 20 years.

Foreign leaders know him personally. McCain has solved many problems in the senate working across the aisle.

Candidates Clitnon and Obama are all talk McCain has walked the walk.

McCain is the only honest candidate.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: MALARKEY | April 21, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Frank James yeah Obama and Clinton are really qualified for CIC.

What planet are you on. They are serial liars. If you like dishonesty then you love them.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra loves to smear veterans.

She would rather have people that have never seen the horrors of war as CIC.

She would rather have Hillary Rodham Clinton who lied about dodging sniper fire.

Or Hillary Rodham Clinton lying about joining the military when it was a joke to test against feminism. But that didn't stop her from saying she tried to join the army and Bill saying she tried to join the army.

Obama wants to invade Pakistan. McCain is against publicly announcing when Obama wants.

McCain voted against keeping our troops in Lebanon.

McCain has seen the horrors of war. He hates war. McCain wants to turn the areas over to the iraqis responsibly and bring our troops home. He will protect our troops at the embassy unlike Clinton and Obama who will have them as sitting ducks.

Only in America can the left want cowards like Obama and Clinton as CIC who have never seen the face of war and smear heroes like McCain.

The left smears McCain for losing a plane by being shot down. Did the left fly over Vietnam with Missiles coming at you from every direction.

The left says McCain lost a plane when on a carrier. It was another plane that fired a rocket at McCain's plane and he had to escape for his life.

The left loves to smear McCain's service.

McCain wouldn't leave his men behind while Obama was doing drugs and Hillary was playing games with recruitment officers to test them against feminism. McCain's arms were getting hung from the ceiling while Hillary was protesting agaisnt the military.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Pity the Post for this shoddy piece of Journalism. Tempers in the White House are as common as the clintons and kennedy's separate bedrooms.
When you start asking the hard questions of the chosen one I'll start paying attention to your worthless polls.

Posted by: Frank | April 21, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You can watch John McCain holding back his emotions when the camera is on him, yet his face looks like he is about to explode inside.

Just because someone is considered a war hero and going to NATO Conferences every year does not make them prepared to be President. We need a President who can analyze complex situations and develop a course of action. We need a President who surrounds themselves with bright and capable people that will follow the law and Constitution.

Look, the bottom line is, he is just too old and so are his ideas. Let's go forward and not live in the past!

Posted by: Frank James | April 21, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

When is the Washington Post going to do a front page story on Bill Clinton's temper or Hillary Clinton throwing a lamp.

McCain who opens himself up to the press 20 times more than candidates Clinton and Obama.

Bill Clinton has a raging temper and the left loved him as president for 8 years for them to get on McCain is the height of hypocricy.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a Republican.

They start wars because that's what impotent people do best,...with our money.

Don't say anything bad about McCain, or Bush will start another war for him.

Posted by: Doctor Zhivagp | April 21, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I would not want this guy on my bomb demolition squad -- or in the White House

Posted by: cassandra | April 21, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a loose cannon who has traded on his "suspect" hero status too long. He was a lousy naval officer and a flip flopper as a senator and candidate. Add to that a hot temper and foul mouth and we are courting with international disaster if we follow our current loser with this one.

Posted by: paul | April 21, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

People who think McCain will be a good president need to re-evaluate.

1. McCain is OLD as hell, and can't tell the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims. How the hell can he resolve anything in the middle east? Being a veteran does not qualify you for anything other than being a veteran

2. McCain has openly admitted that he knows very little about economics--THIS SHOULD BE OUR NATIONS # 1 PRIORITY RIGHT NOW!

3. The VP that McCain chooses will ultimately be president, because lets face it, what 72+ year old can handle the stress and pressures of the White House?

4. McCain is a warmonger who takes contributions from the Military Industrial complex, telecommunications companies-- he supports the Patriot Act and the stripping of Civil Liberties-- this will add to the rise of corporate Fascism in the USA-- as if it weren't bad enough

If you people are too blind or too stupid to see what's in front of you-- than God help us all-- we are doomed. The DEFINITION of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results--- anyone who votes for McCain should be locked up and deemed clinically INSANE.

Posted by: Nik | April 21, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Terry McCain's son in the navy academy said he has never seen his dad get angry in 21 years.

The left hates McCain because he is an honorable man. He served his country unlike their candidates so they like to smear him.

Look at McCain's son one in the marines and one in the navy academy. McCain is going to hike the grand canyon with his sons this summer.

How can the left talk about tempers when their Bubba Clinton has the worst temper out there. Remember Clinton wagging his finger at peter jennings.

Clinton would explode in rages so bad to stephenopolis he had to go on drugs. Clinton would leave interviews.

McCain gives the press access to him everywhere.

McCain talks on his bus non stop to the press. McCain talks on his plane non stop to the press.

McCain gives press conference interviews after every event.

You want to talk about temperment.

Voters can't even ask Obama for his autograph or ask him a question.

McCain didn't even take secret service for so long so he can be open to the public.

McCain goes everywhere he is holding a town hall in the lower 9th ward.

I am tired of the left smearing McCain.

The Washington Post story was a joke. Bob Smith is a libertarian who disagreed with McCain over the POW issue.

The story was a joke.

Does Hillary have the right temperment the secret service used to have to break up her fights with Bill Clinton as he was getting so red in the face from her hitting him.

The new fad with the left is for those who sacrifice the most smear the most for those who sacrifice the least smear the least.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

So what???? Most everyone I know has a temper. Billy Clinton has a dick--------did it get him in trouble?

Posted by: jimmyv | April 21, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The next time I need a newspaper to line the litter box, I know exactly where to find it... This writer is an idiot... If the most effective source of information is an obviously biased "citizen poll", then he ought to find another career. What happened to the good old days of writing a fact-based story verses another "opinion poll" spin... If google wants to do it right, they ought to give everyone the ability to block this liberal crap from hitting it's "news" page... This isn't news, it is one idiot's opinion on what he thinks is going on in the world. God help the Washington Post if this is the best writer they can hire...

Posted by: edlpar | April 21, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Pity the liberal media. Desperate to find something to match the egregious faults of their own candidates, all they can come up with McCain is...he sometimes gets mad.

I can't wait till November, when the electoral map will be painted red from coast to coast.

Posted by: MOFD | April 21, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton has a far worse temper than McCain. Bill Clinton has blown up dozens of times this campaign. Remember him wagging his finger in the peter jennings interview.

Hillary threw a lamp at Bill Clinton.

Obama is the one who wants to launch war with pakistan.

McCain has seen the horrors of war. McCain voted against keeping our troops in lebanon.

It seems the new fad with the left is to smear veterans like McCain.

Bill Clinton who dodged the draft has a far far worse temper than McCain and he was president for 8 years.

How many times has Bill Clinton exploded during the campaign? Dozens

How many times has McCain?

So it was okay for draft dodger to have a temper but lets try to smear a hero like McCain.

Bill Clinton ran down the hall and tackled Dick Morris and Hillary called him an anti semitic name.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Cindy McCain said today on The View, she's never seen her husbands temper. LOL and I've got a bridge to sell in the Sahara.

Posted by: Terry | April 21, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

McNasty is abusive, period. And, he has an illusion that he is never wrong. McScary. He called his wife a c*** in public when she told him he was getting a few gray hairs.

What an a**.

Posted by: Lisa W | April 21, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

To Iqbal, McCain has worked across the aisle more than anyone. McCain has relationships with many international leaders. McCain has attended nato security conferences every year abroad.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Ya'll hear how the Mayan's predicted the world would end in 2012? Well, here's the updated epilogue to that story--

John McCain wins the white house in November. His hot temper and lack of knowledge about the economy causes the dollar to weaken further, unemployment rises, and stagflation takes its course. As the years drag on, Americans are getting more upset about the situation thinking, "why didn't we take a chance on a democrat?". Tensions in the middle east continue to rise from an illegal American presence in the region-- McCain orders an airstrike on Iran for no good reason whatsoever-- World War 3 begins, in 2011, and ends December 20, 2012 through nuclear attacks worldwide--- just like the Mayans predicted...

Posted by: Nik | April 21, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr. MaCain has very good qualities to be a presidnet. He has served in the military for so long and is a patriotic person. At the same time his bad tamper can hamper is ablity to affectively deal with congress and other international leaders.

Posted by: Iqbal Kazmi | April 21, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Damaged goods indeed

Posted by: dude813 | April 21, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The guy's a nut case. Sorry, I don't want his finger on 'the button'. He's damaged goods.

Posted by: thebob.bob | April 21, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

The McCain campaign responded angrily to the article alleging that their candidate has a problem with temperament, saying, "Who the f**k does this reporter think he is? We ought to beat the sh*t out of that m0therf**ker! G0dd**m a**hole!"

Posted by: rita forte | April 21, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

President Truman had a hot temper too ...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

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