The Plank

Who Cares?

National polls mean little at this point, but let’s look at
the latest Los
Angeles Times/Bloomberg
poll.  It
shows Barack Obama with a 15 percentage point lead over John McCain among 1115 registered
voters. That could be taken as a sign of
partisan preference rather than of specific support for Obama, but one question
jumps off the page. In gauging a
candidate’s appeal, I always look at the “cares more about people like you”
question. It is what George W. Bush did
well on even when people disagreed with his policies, and what the past two
Democrat nominees did relatively poorly on. What about Barack Obama against
John McCain? You’d think that Obama
would be hampered on this question by racial differences, as he appeared to be
during the Democratic primaries, but
when the poll asked, “Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think
cares more about people like you?" Obama bested McCain
by 50 to 23 percent--among males by 42 to 27 percent and females by 56 to 20
percent. That says a lot to me about
John McCain’s difficulties as a presidential candidate and does say something about
Obama’s prospects in the fall, in spite of the fact it is only June.

--John B. Judis

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