Poll: McCain's negativity turning off voters
Published: Wednesday October 15, 2008

Print This  Email This

John McCain's decision to pursue an almost exclusively negative line of attack against Barack Obama is turning voters away from the Republican presidential candidate, a new New York Times/CBS poll finds.

After several weeks in which the McCain campaign unleashed a series of strong political attacks on Mr. Obama, trying to tie him to a former 1960s radical, among other things, the poll found that more voters see Mr. McCain as waging a negative campaign than Mr. Obama. Six in 10 voters surveyed said that Mr. McCain had spent more time attacking Mr. Obama than explaining what he would do as president; by about the same number, voters said Mr. Obama was spending more of his time explaining than attacking.
McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have repeatedly tried to make an issue of Obama's previous tangential association with William Ayers, a former 60s radical accused of planning bombings of public buildings. The campaign also has devoted virtually 100 percent of its advertising budget to running negative ads.

McCain also has essentially promised to bring up Ayers in Wednesday night's debate.

As voters' worries center on the economy, McCain has struggled to offer a consistent plan that resonates with them. His decision to rely more heavily on attacks has seen his numbers worsen in recent days.

The NYT-CBS poll gives Obama a 14-point lead among likely voters, but some observers see it as an outlier. Other polls have Obama leading by about nine points nationally, and he is well ahead in electoral vote projections.