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McCain vs. Obama on Personal Attributes

Six months before the general election, public perceptions of the relative strengths and weaknesses of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic front-runner Barack Obama are relatively static, though recent shifts on leadership, empathy and personal ethics hint at the battles to come.

The two months of campaigning in the time since we last checked in on perceptions of these two candidates have done little to change minds. In comparing McCain and Obama on eight key candidate attributes in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll, McCain continues to be seen as the more experienced candidate and the one with better knowledge of world affairs, while Obama is broadly seen as the one who would do more to affect change, with the better personality for the job and with a clearer vision for the future.

But the two candidates have become more evenly matched on the question of who is the stronger leader and who has higher personal and ethical standards. Obama erased McCain's double-digit edge as the stronger leader (in the new poll, Obama also for the first time bests Hillary Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination, on this measure), while McCain closed a 12-point gap as the candidate with higher personal and ethical standards.

Obama maintains a wide advantage as the more empathetic candidate, but the margin between the two candidates narrowed slightly from 27 points to 19.

To overtake McCain on the leadership front, Obama has some convincing to do among fellow Democrats. About a quarter of Democrats call McCain the stronger leader, compared with 12 percent of GOPers who choose Obama on this score.

McCain's progress on empathy comes largely from bringing Republicans back into the fold, in March, 55 percent of Republicans said he was the candidate who better understands their problems; now 66 percent do.

And on personal and ethical standards, more than one in five partisans are "cross-overs," choosing the other party's standard bearer as the one with higher standards. Obama cedes more than a third of Clinton supporters on this question, while McCain surrenders a quarter of conservatives.

Q. Regardless of who you may support, who do you think...

a. is the stronger leader

          McCain   Obama   -McCain
5/11/08     46       42       -4
3/2/08      51       40      -11

b. has the better experience to be president

          McCain   Obama   -McCain
5/11/08     71       18      -53
3/2/08      70       19      -51

c. would do more to bring needed change to Washington

          McCain   Obama   -McCain
5/11/08     29       59      +30
3/2/08      31       56      +25

d. has a better personality and temperament to be president

          McCain   Obama   -McCain
5/11/08     32       56      +24
3/2/08      28       57      +29

e. better understands the problems of people like you

          McCain   Obama   -McCain
5/11/08     35       54      +19
3/2/08      29       56      +27

f. has a clearer vision for the future

          McCain   Obama   -McCain
5/11/08     34       54      +20
3/2/08      32       53      +21

g. has higher personal and ethical standards

          McCain   Obama   -McCain
5/11/08     41       42       -1
3/2/08      31       43      +12

h. has better knowledge of world affairs

          McCain   Obama   -McCain
5/11/08     65       24      -41
3/2/08      64       24      -40

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  May 14, 2008; 5:21 PM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Clinton's Broader Base?
Next: New Exit Poll Tables


And this poll says it all. You won't believe these results!

Posted by: rursl | May 16, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

The Respected Senator John McCain would "Never," even consider such an absurdity "the MAN is a US War Veteran," and Senator Obama you could learn a thing or two from John McCain.

Citizens living in Hawai'i are having fits "absolutely outraged," writing endless letters and commentaries (Comments) to both the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star Bulletin since they printed that the appointed junior Senator is coming to Hawai'i possibly giving a speaking engagement inside Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. It's a Veteran's National Cemetery not Obama's personal "Soap Box," to stand on and rant; it's a place for those resting in peace. The people of Hawaii are angry at the thought of this and have every right to be at the report he's planning this - it's a disgrace. Punchbowl would NOT be a "wonderful backdrop." Talk about crass -- speechifying in a national cemetery during a political campaign. Imagine this: thousands of enthralled Obama supporters rushing around the cemetery to get close to the man, trampling over the graves of men and women who've given their lives in service to their country. The reactions posted in Comments still, when the idea of a Punchbowl speech was first floated are from angry families whose loved ones rest in peace. National cemeteries are no place for political speeches. Makes you wonder about the maturity and integrity of the people who proposed such a preposterous idea in the first place.

Senator sell your socialism opinions on Capitol Hill, Hawaii's questioning and lost respect for the "so-called," junior appointed Senator who's turned into another Washington D.C.*Wanna-bee* just allot of talk nothing more. You'd make a great car salesman NOT A PRESIDENT you seem to sell plenty of B.S. to those not wise enough to read between the lines of a script written performance; every word out of your mouth is written by a paid staff member whose worked the D.C. circuit for years like the well known Mr. Rove," Yes, he too, could write a good speech and America bought it; just look at our current sitting "Bobble head," in the oval office.

Webster's Fourth Edition describes Barack Obama as a "HYPOCRITE," His own Pastor taught Trinity Church words of hate and racism while the Senator and his air-head-of-a-wife passed the tithe platter not giving even as 20 year members. He doesn't support any causes really, not even his own Church "just the views of Reverend Wright's anti-White; anti-Israel; anti-American points of view. A "greedy," Senator is described in the Bible as a "HYPOCRITE," as well. He's a Racist Elitist Marxist or the Antichrist reading his well written speeches. the *Wanna-bee* Washington Politician has in less then 12 months become a disgrace to Christianity- He's not a Christian man of his word; a poor excuse for one.

The Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii is a sacred place for the many lying in Peace, Those US Military young and old, Men and Woman who gave their lives to this country will turn over in their graves at the sound of Obama's political performance if he speaks there. Punchbowl Cemetery it's not a place for a campaign rally "The Senator should keep his political performances with its Washington Socialism undertones to an area more suiting for "HYPOCRITES," Senator your always welcomed to rant at Neil Abercrombie's headquarters, but Punchbowl Cemetery is a resting place of peace and should remain so for those who rest there, - not an arena for your personal political agenda; Show some decency and class moron.

Posted by: Pineapple1 | May 19, 2008 2:09 AM | Report abuse


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Posted by: che | May 19, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Clinton takes Indiana by a 'razor' and Obama wins North Carolina by a huge margin. Nevertheless, Kentucky, Montana and West Virginia are still to come.

The Democratic race for nomination is still very much alive - and most likely to be decided by superdelegates

If you're tired of waiting around for those super delegates to make a decision already, go to and push them to support Clinton or Obama

If you haven't done so yet, please write a message to each of your state's superdelegates at

Obama Supporters:

Sending a note to current Obama supporters lets them know it's appreciated, sending a note to current Clinton supporters can hopefully sway them to change their vote to Obama, and sending a note to the uncommitted folks will hopefully sway them to vote for Obama. It's that easy...

Clinton Supporters too .... !

It takes a moment, but what's a few minutes now worth to get Clinton in office?! Those are really worth !

Sending a note to current Clinton supporters lets them know it's appreciated, sending a note to current Obama supporters can hopefully sway them to change their vote to Clinton, and sending a note to the uncommitted folks will hopefully sway them to vote for Clinton. It's that easy...

Posted by: feeba | May 20, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Obama could learn from McCain's experience, the problem with McCain is that McCain doesn't seem to have learned from McCain's experience.

Posted by: Lee Hackney | May 20, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The other day, I was stunned by the very incendiary jokes from Hon. Gov. Huckabee (R - AK). I do really take the Governor from AK very seriously on the issues he has clearly articulated on the campaign stump, for I believe he is a man of his word, principle and integrity. This said, it troubles me very deeply when a man of such high values will suggest jokingly that Sen. Obama is a victim of an assassination attempt (during his speech to the NRA -

I do think it should be taking equally as serious as the Rep views on Sen. Obama's ties to Rev Wright. We will not want to look back some day and say only if we had spoken to Gov. Huckbee (a formal Republican presidential candidate, 2008) about his suggestive and incendiary joke in regard to an assassination attempt on the Democratic presumptive nominee and most likely the next and first black United States President, Sen. Barack Obama.

It must be clear that, when statements like Sen. Clinton's "sniper fire" and Sen. Obama's "Clinging to guns", statements are examined under the microscope it is fair to do just the same with our colleagues on the other side especially when it life threatening.

I strongly urge Sen. McCain denounce and reject Gov. Huckabee s' support. In the same light, I applaud Sen. McCain's rejection and disassociation from the lobbyist and hope he continues to do the same with Gov. Huckabee. For this is the real "the straight talk express".

God bless America and God bless our presidential candidates.

Posted by: Jr Neville Songwe | May 20, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I have a serious problems with John McCaine leaving his first wife. This is the woman who kept his family together while he was a POW. Why did he leave this woman? Was he having an affair with his present wife? Was Cindy the other woman? I could not vote for this man who treated his wife so badly. John said anything that the voter wanted to know was important. I want to hear him talk about that.

Posted by: RUTH LYONS | May 21, 2008 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton is, and always will be, a SURVIVOR, You just cant put a CLINTON down that easy, Even you should know that Barack; so Lay off Hillary, and Stop acting like, Your wife.

Senator Obama is forgetting this race isn't over. Hold that Maybelline Colored Compact tight; you just might need it yourself to hide the running mascara come November.

In the mean time Simma-down simma-down Big-shot and PaH-leezZZ Shut-up, you didn't receive an Oscar yet "It isn't over till the fat-lady sings," nobody's heard that Opera yet. At this point in the 2008 Election "ANYTHING," is possible; so loosen your belt it seems a bit tight lately and your not in the "Black House yet, nor is Aunt Jamima cooking' up any waffles for you this morning.

Don't count all your eggs in one basket this soon; The ELECTION is just getting started; you might just find yourself, warring Senator Clintons worn down campaign heels near the end, young man!

Posted by: pineapple | May 21, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey pineapple ... are you an idiot or is it just my imagination? Your rantings show the extent to which delusion is alive and well in America. Stop showing your ignorance by speaking. Shhhh.... Obama is going to be the President come late January ... our national nightmare of George W will be over and George III (McCain) will be back in the Senate where he can do little harm with his positions bereft of heft.

Posted by: le stone | May 22, 2008 1:08 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:


Check this video(4 part) from The New York Times-bestselling author Greg Palast:

Posted by: che | May 23, 2008 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Here are the facts for all to see and read..anyone who thinks rationally can only conclude that Obama is a phoney and a Liar !

Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a Black Muslim from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHIEST from Wichita, Kansas.

Moderate Muslims can no longer tolerate Obama. He and his wife are haters for his wife to say that this country is no good and this country has never been good to her. Obama should denounce his Pastor Jeremiah Wright, who has connections with Louis Farrakhan, along with him being friends with that underground guy William Ayres who he says is his friend after he bombed the Pentagon in1972, he received money from William Ayres, and this guy is way worse than Mark Rich.

Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim.

He is quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school." Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education. Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. The terrorists that crashed into the Twin Towers were once all enrolled in the study of Wahabism..just as Obama was!!

Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected Presidential candidacy. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!! ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office - he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Kuran (Their equivalency to our Bible, but very different beliefs) Obama also refuses to pledge allegiance to the USA flag.

How can someone who wants to be President refuse to commit to the USA? Before you vote for any candidate, remember how many people are disgusted with Obama's autobiography!!!!

Voters be cautious in this crucial election that means so much to the USA and the free world.

Posted by: The Brutal Truth | May 26, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

The Brutal Truth
So because you say these are facts we're supposed to believe you? You some kind of expert or something? or did you make a few stops at some of the anti-Obama websites to glean your information. These are obviously slanted propaganda talking points you picked up somewhere.

Furthermore, your statements of "Facts" are so off-based I don't even know where to start. Get a life and do something good with it rather than regurgitating lies trying to convince people who are not half as gullible as you of your views.

Posted by: JR | May 27, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

("Senator Clinton is, and always will be, a SURVIVOR, You just cant put a CLINTON down that easy, Even you should know that Barack; so Lay off Hillary, and Stop acting like, Your wife.")
If Sen. Clinton keeps it up she will find herself unelecable for the Senate and unless you live in NY you won't have a say in it.
BTW Obama has been rather gracious by throwing her a life-line more than once and what does she do?, tries to throw him under the bus.

((Senator Obama is forgetting this race isn't over. ))
This race was over in Feb after he built an insurmountable lead in pledged delegates, the supers are coming over every day because of Hillary's behavior.

(( and your not in the "Black House yet, nor is Aunt Jamima cooking' up any waffles for you this morning.))
I see, you like making fun of black people using racially motivated stereotypes. This is CERTAIN to give your argument validity. Take it somewhere else you piece of trash.

((Don't count all your eggs in one basket this soon; The ELECTION is just getting started; ))
The election is over, your candidate lost. I think you should vote for McCain, maybe he'll send you over to Iraq unless you're too dumb to be accepted into the armed forces.

Posted by: JR | May 27, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes, reading comments from some people, you begin to fear for the future of Democracy. First we have "Pineapple" outraged that Senator Obama may give a speech in Hawaii at a site that is named in honor of WWII dead. Somehow, Pineapple doesn't get the point that, as a veteran of Vietnam and much combat time, I got, way back when. Pineapple, those victims of WWII fought and died so that we would have free speech and the right to give those speeches ANYWHERE.
Then we get "The Brutal Truth," who passes on "The Naked Lies" as "facts" we are all supposed to know and absorb before we vote. He is a purveyer of hatred and ignorance. He is scary. As scary as the nearly 40% of those WHO DID NOT KNOW, WHEN ASKED, AFTER THEY VOTED IN THE THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION....THAT THERE ARE TWO HOUSES OF CONGRESS!!! An even higher percentage believed there was a link between Saddam Hussain and the attacks on 9/11. Incredible. Like I said, between Pineapple and The Brutal Truth, I fear for our Democracy. Think about it: both are allowed to vote (unless, of course, they are returned to their test tubes before then. We can only hope).

Posted by: Professor John | May 28, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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