Does Bush Do for McCain What Wright Did for Obama?

Posted May 12, 2008 at 8:39am

If the pundits and many voters thought the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was a political albatross for Barack Obama, wait till you see what President Bush does for John McCain.

A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted May 1-3 says that while 33 percent of voters said Obama’s association with Wright made them less likely to support him, 38 percent of voters say that McCain’s association with Bush made them less likely to vote for him. In the Wright-Obama case, 64 percent of voters said it didn’t matter, and in the McCain-Bush case, 54 percent said it didn’t matter. To turn this a little on its head, Gallup did find some upside for Bush-McCain as 7 percent of voters said their association made it more likely that they’d vote for McCain, while Wright’s coattails only pulled in 1 percent for Obama.

These sentiments clearly divided along party lines. Fifty percent of Republicans said Wright made it less likely they’d support Obama compared to 19 percent for Democrats. Sixty-four percent of Democrats said McCain’s association with Bush would turn them off compared to 10 percent of Republicans. Twelve percent of Republicans said the Bush association would make it more likely that they’d vote for McCain. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans said it didn’t matter compared to 33 percent of Democrats.

Bill Clinton also generates some Wright-like numbers for Hillary Clinton. A third said Hillary Clinton’s association with him made it less likely that they’d support her compared to 18 percent who said more likely. Forty-eight percent said it didn’t matter. The “less likely” sentiment was predictably harbored more by Republicans (53 percent) than Democrats (16 percent).