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Friday, May 02, 2008

Rasmussen: 58 Percent Think Obama Denounced Wright For Political Convenience

Rasmussen Reports, in their May 2, 2008 release, say that 58 percent of respondents in their latest poll say they think Barack Obama only denounced Jeremiah Wright because of "political convenience".
Months after the firestorm of media attention focused on Jeremiah Wright's controversial sermons which were blasted across the Internet and every news media outlet, Barack Obama who has called Wright "like family" and previously refused to denounce the man, did exactly that after Wright went on a mini-media tour last weekend capped by a press conference at the National Press Club on Monday and made further controversial statements.

Many thought Obama said too little and it was too late by then.

Rasmussen Reports conducted a national telephone survey which found that 58 percent of respondents believe Barack Obama only denounced Wright because it was politically convenient and not out of legitimate outrage.

Only 30 percent of those asked believed Obama was outraged.

52 percent of those surveyed believe that Obama was not truly surprised by Wright's views while 32 percent believe he was.

56 percent believe that Obama, at least somewhat, “shares some of Pastor Wright’s controversial views about the United States.” Those figures when broken down show that 26 percent say that it is "very likely" Obama shares those views and 24 percent believe it is "not very likely" that Obama shares his pastor's views.

Broken down by political party, we see that 74 percent of Republicans questioned said that it was somewhat or very likely that Obama shares some of Wright’s views. That view is shared by 48 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of those not affiliated with either party.

Democrats are evenly divided as to whether or not Obama was surprised by Wright’s comments on Monday. Republicans overwhelmingly reject that notion. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 36% say Obama was surprised while 45% disagree.

Just 36% of Democrats believe outrage was the motivation for Obama to denounce his former Pastor. That view is shared by 38% of unaffiliated voters and 16% of Republicans.

This further confirms what the latest polls showed yesterday, where Clinton shows a slight surge and Obama is losing favorable ratings just days before the next two primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.

In another Rasmussen Report, the daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that before Wright's recent press conference, John McCain and Barack Obama were tied with each receiving 46 percent and now John McCain now leads Barack Obama 48 percent to 42 percent.

When pitted against Hillary Clinton, McCain garners 45 Percent and Clinton 44 percent.

On the morning of Wright’s press conference, Obama did three points better than Clinton against McCain. Now, Clinton outperforms Obama by five for a swing of eight points in just four days.

While Clinton's two point lead in the Democratic Presidential Nomination, where she has 46 percent and he has 44 percent, is statistically insignificant, Rasmussen takes into account that it represents a ten-point swing since Wright’s press conference. Before Wright appeared at the National Press Club, Obama led Clinton by eight points.

It is undeniable that the Wright controversy has hurt Barack Obama, but Obama seemed to be coming back from it before Wright's mini tour and latest words and although Barack Obama did denounce not just the words this time, but also the man to a point, these numbers are showing that it might just have been "too little too late".

There are many months to go and in the world of politics, one week can seem like one year and one major mistake can turn the polls around, but since the next set of primaries is but four days away, the latest surveys and polls provide a window into the potential outcome on May 6.