A growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket to the White House in the last days of the campaign, a new poll shows.
The just released New York Times/CBS News poll shows that 59 per cent of voters surveyed said the Alaska Governor was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month.
Nearly a third of voters polled said the selection of vice-presidential candidate would be a major factor influencing their vote for president but that too is not a good news for Republican as those voters broadly favour Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.
Indicating that the choice of Palin has hurt McCain's image, voters said they had much more confidence in Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in McCain.
After nearly two years of campaigning, a pair of hotly contested nominating battles, a series of debates and an avalanche of advertisements, the nationwide poll found the contours of the race hardening in the last days before the election on Tuesday.
Twelve per cent of the voters surveyed said they had already voted.
The poll result showed Obama is maintaining his lead, with 51 per cent of likely voters supporting him and 40 per cent supporting McCain in a head-to-head matchup.
Some perceptions of race are changing, with increase in the number of people who believe that white and black people have an equal chance of getting ahead in America on Friday.