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Majority of voters say Palin not qualified for Vice-President

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.

world Updated: Oct 31, 2008 18:04 IST

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 today.

McCain's focus on taxes, including his talk about Joe the Plumber, seems to have some effect, as a growing number of voters now say McCain would not raise their taxes.

Eighty-nine per cent of people view the economy negatively and 85 per cent think the country is on the wrong track.

Obama continues to have a significant advantage on key issues like economy, health care and the war in Iraq.

The survey found that opinions of Obama and McCain have hardened considerably as 9 out of 10 voters, who claimed to have settled on a candidate, said their minds were made up and a growing number of them called it "extremely important" that their candidate win the election.

Roughly half of each candidate's supporters said they were "scared" of what the other candidate would do if elected.

Just 4 per cent of voters were undecided. When they were pressed to say whom they leaned toward, the shape of the race remained essentially the same.

Bolstered by the fiscal crisis and deep concerns about the direction of the country, Obama, the survey showed, seemed to have solidified the support he has gained in recent months.

The survey suggested that Obama's candidacy if elected, he would be the first black president has changed some perceptions of race in America. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said whites and blacks have an equal chance of getting ahead in today's society, up from the half who said they thought so in July, The Times said.

While 14 per cent said most people they knew would not vote for a black presidential candidate, the number has dropped considerably since the campaign began.