Honest and trustworthy

HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY…. Following up on an earlier item, the new Washington Post/ABC News poll offers quite a bit of good news for Democrats, but I was thumbing through some of the internals, and noticed some additional data worth considering.

As we know, voters often look to personal characteristics, instead of issue positions, when evaluating candidates, and as it turns out, these may pose an even bigger problem for the McCain campaign than simple horse-race numbers.

Asked, for example, which candidate would do more to bring needed change to Washington, voters prefer Obama to McCain by 25 points (58% to 33%). Asked which candidate better understands the economic problems people are having, voters again prefer Obama by a wide margin (57% to 33%). Asked which candidate is the stronger leader, a question on which McCain used to excel, Obama now has a narrow lead (47% to 46%).

And in my personal favorite, the poll asked respondents which candidate is “more honest and trustworthy.” Obama enjoys a healthy, double-digit lead, 47% to 36%.

Just as importantly, this is a recent development. When voters were asked this same question about candidate honesty in mid-July, Obama and McCain were about tied (Obama had a three-point lead). The same poll asked the same question in August, and again, they were about tied (Obama led by just one point). Shortly after the Republican convention, McCain was perceived as more trustworthy by six points.

And now, that trend has completely reversed, and Obama leads by 11 points on honesty and trustworthiness.

I mention this in part because there’s been a noticeable trend of late of political observers expressing their disappointment in the McCain campaign’s relentless lying and shameless dishonesty, and I’ve wondered whether voters would pick up on any of this. If the poll results are any indication, they have.