The latest USA Today/Gallup poll published today shows that “Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama‘s standing has been significantly damaged by the controversy over his former pastor,” and the issue raises “questions for some voters about the Illinois senator’s values, credibility and electability.”
The erosion of support among Democrats and independents raises the stakes in Tuesday’s Indiana and North Carolina primaries, which represent a chance for Obama to reassert his claim to a Democratic nomination that seems nearly in his grasp. A defeat in Indiana and a close finish in North Carolina, where he’s favored, could fuel unease about his ability to win in November. Such results also could help propel Hillary Rodham Clinton’s uphill campaign all the way to the Democratic convention in August.
Although we’ve been seeing similar findings in other polls over the past few days, as polls go, one poll does often contradicts another:
The poll showed Hillary Clinton leading Obama 51 percent to 44 percent nationally among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters, in contrast to a CBS News/New York Times survey released on Sunday that had Obama leading Clinton by 12 points.
Tomorrow voters head to the voting booths in North Carolina and Indiana. It is likely that the Wright controversy also “could be a hurdle if Obama wins the nomination and then tries to draw support from independent and GOP voters in November.”
“It will be a continuing problem,” predicts Joe Trippi, a strategist for John Edwards’ presidential bid who isn’t affiliated with one of the current campaigns. “This won’t be the last time it’s raised.”
I don’t think it matters how many times Obama tries to change the subject on this one. The right wing has found their issue that they will hammer all the way through November.