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Poll: Overwhelming Majority View Ayers as Irrelevant

A new poll (PDF) conducted by ABC and The Washington Post found one of the McCain campaign’s recent attacks on Sen. Barack Obama does not appear to be resonating with voters.

Sixty percent of likely voters said Sen. Barack Obama’s connection to former Weatherman William Ayers is “not a legitimate campaign issue,” compared with 37 percent who believe it is. The survey also asked about Obama’s ties to the Assn. of Community Organizers for Reform Now, or ACORN — another McCain campaign target — and found 49 percent do not think it is a legitimate issue, as opposed to 40 percent who say it is, with 11 percent “unready to express an opinion.”

The poll contains another shot of bad news for the McCain campaign. A majority of respondents, 52 percent, said Sen. John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate makes them “less confident” in McCain’s judgment, to 38 percent who said the choice makes them more confident in McCain’s decision-making.

In contrast, 56 percent said Obama’s choice of running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, made them more confident in the Democratic presidential nominee’s judgment, to 31 percent who said it made them less confident.

Independent voters mirrored the overall results on the question of how the Palin pick influences their confidence in McCain’s judgment, with 51 percent expressing less confidence over the Palin pick, versus 39 percent who said they were more confident. While Palin, not surprisingly, is far more popular among Republicans, with 70 percent saying the choice makes them more confident in McCain’s decision-making, the poll found some troubling results for the McCain campaign among several key demographics. From the survey press release:

Views of the Palin selection, naturally, are highly partisan. But majorities of moderates (62 percent), young adults (59 percent) and women (56 percent) all say it makes them less confident in McCain’s judgment. (More women than men say so.) So do near majorities, 48 percent, of white women and married women alike.

With the race shaping up into a battle for undecided and moderate voters, the implication that a large majority of moderates believe Palin is an example of poor judgment on McCain’s part may not bode well for the GOP presidential nominee — particularly if the voters view McCain’s age, and therefore the possibility of a Palin presidency, as a problem.

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