The latest CBS News/New York Times poll has Barack Obama with an 11 point lead over John McCain:
(CBS) With less than one week until Election Day, Barack Obama maintains a clear lead over John McCain in the presidential race, a new CBS News/New York Times poll suggests. The Democratic nominee now leads his Republican rival by 11 percentage points, 52 percent to 41 percent, among likely voters nationwide.
A small percentage of these voters could still switch sides: The figures include both firm supporters of each candidate and those who lean towards one or the other but have not fully committed. These so-called leaners, however, make up less than 10 percent of each candidate’s support, a sign that significant movement in the campaign’s final days is not likely. Just five percent of the likely voters surveyed remain completely undecided.
Seventeen percent of registered voters say they have already voted, either by absentee ballot or at early voting sites, and this group favors Obama by a large margin. The 13 percent of registered voters casting ballots for the first time favor Obama over McCain by two-to-one.
The poll also finds that Sarah Palin is having a significant negative impact on the Republican ticket:
A growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket in the last days of the campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.
And in a possible indication that the choice of Ms. Palin has hurt Mr. McCain’s image, voters said they had much more confidence in Mr. Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in Mr. McCain.
All of which points inexorably to the conclusion that the public has concluded that John McCain flubbed the first big decision of his Presidential campaign, and that seems to be having a fairly negative impact on his chances against Obama. With four days to do, it’s hard to see what McCain can do to turn that perception around.