Monday, May 12, 2008


That's what Greg Sargent at Talking Points Memo calls it, but I'd say it's barely that, at best. From Gallup:

George W. Bush may do as much damage to John McCain's chances of being elected as Jeremiah Wright does to Barack Obama's, according to results of a recent USA Today/Gallup poll.

The May 1-3 poll finds 38% of likely voters saying McCain's association with Bush makes them less likely to vote for McCain, while 33% say Obama's association with Wright diminishes their likelihood of voting for Obama. The Bush-McCain relationship does have more upside than the Obama-Wright association, though, as 7% say they are more likely to vote for McCain because of his association with Bush, while only 1% say they are more likely to vote for Obama because of his association with Wright.

OK, let's review: Yes, Jeremiah Wright was very close to Obama, but Obama has rejected every one of Wright's most divisive, controversial ideas, and he did so long before those ideas became the subject of widespread public debate. John McCain, by contrast, has embraced virtually every one of George W. Bush's most divisive, most unpopular ideas. What's more, Obama has now dissociated himself from Wright, while McCain went to the White House to accept Bush's endorsement and invite him to do some campaigning

And yet the net effect of the ongoing Bush connection is slightly less damaging for McCain (38% - 7% = 31%) than the net effect of the former Wright connection is for Obama (33% - 1% = 32%).

It's possible that the Wright controversy has played itself out, and further attacks on Obama's ties to him may have diminishing impact, with the result that this number will go down. Let's hope. Also, someday -- presumably -- Obama and the Democratic Party will be able to turn their undivided attention to McCain; when (if?) that day comes, the Bush-as-millstone numbers ought to go up. But for now, this is not great news.

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