Twice as many likely voters see Republican John McCain as a better commander in chief of America's armed forces than Democrat Barack Obama, but they prefer Obama as a competent manager, problem solver and as someone who understands the average person, the latest Zogby Interactive poll shows.
The online survey of 2,331 likely voters nationwide, conducted Sept. 19-20, 2008, carries a margin of error of +/- 2.1 percentage points. The same survey showed the Obama-Biden ticket leading McCain-Palin 47 percent to 44 percent in the straight-up horserace question, with 9 percent other/not sure.
The four qualities mentioned above were all rated as very or somewhat important by more than 93 percent of voters. The two other qualities we asked about, having Christian values and being able to win the support from the other party in Congress, rated lower in importance. Here is how the qualities and candidates were rated: Best at being a competent manager: Obama 46 percent, McCain 40 percent. Best at commanding the military: McCain 61 percent, Obama 29 percent. Best at understanding people like you and me: Obama 47 percent, McCain 34 percent. Best at winning support from other party in Congress: McCain 47 percent, Obama 42 percent. Best at being a problem solver: Obama 46 percent, McCain 42 percent. Best at having Christian values: McCain 40 percent, Obama 36 percent.
Said pollster John Zogby: "A nation at war and in economic turmoil is focusing on those candidate qualities that address those concern - hence the drop in importance for Christian values. The McCain advantage as commander in chief is a given, even among many Obama supporters. Obama's 11-point lead on the question of 'who best understands the average person' could be significant when the economy is Issue Number One. He also leads, but by smaller margins, as a problem solver and manager, which also are very important to voters who are worried about pocketbook issues. McCain's base voters are clearly frequent church-goers, seniors and upper middle income earners."