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WaPo-ABC Tracking: Parsing the Ideological Divide

Voters perceptions of where Barack Obama and John McCain stand ideologically appear nearly set in stone, despite a massive barrage of late advertising aimed at shaking those views. The percentages calling the two "about right" in their ideological positioning is largely unchanged over the course of the campaign.

More than half of voters in the new Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, 56 percent, said Obama's views are in about the right spot on the ideological scale, 39 percent consider him "too liberal" and 3 percent think of him as "too conservative" for their taste. Fewer place McCain in the catbird seat: 42 percent said he's about right ideologically. About the same number, 41 percent, call the senator from Arizona too conservative, and he faces the additional difficulty of being viewed by a sizable group, 13 percent, as too liberal.

These splits are about the same as they were 10 days ago and not far from views recorded at the outset of the campaign in March.

Among independents, the gap between the two candidates on being seen as "about right" is somewhat narrower, with 52 percent saying Obama is in the right place - a downtick from mid-October - and 44 percent placing McCain there.

Moderates, however, are more broadly aligned with Obama: Two-thirds said Obama is about right ideologically, just over a third said so of McCain. And Obama has broader crossover appeal: One in five conservatives see Obama as about right, but only half as many liberals said so of McCain.

More data from the Post-ABC Tracking Poll can be found here.

Q: Do you think ... views on most issues are too liberal for you, too conservative for you, or just about right?

Barack Obama's

[Chart]

John McCain's

[Chart]

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  November 1, 2008; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Tracking  
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