Half of Voters Doubt Palin Has Necessary Experience, Poll Says

September 6, 2008

Source: Bloomberg
Half of U.S. voters said first-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, doesn’t have the experience needed to be an effective president, according to an ABC News poll.

The survey found that 50 percent of adults polled on Sept. 4, the last day of the Republican National Convention, said Palin lacks the right experience to be president if she succeeded to the office. Forty-two percent of the voters said she has the necessary experience, the poll said.

John McCain’s selection of Palin to round out the Republican presidential ticket surprised political professionals. Palin, 44, was elected Alaska’s governor in 2006 after defeating the incumbent, Frank Murkowski, in the Republican primary. She had previously served as mayor of her home town of Wasilla, Alaska, and as a member of the city council.

The poll found that 66 percent of voters said Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, has the right experience to be an effective president. Twenty-one percent believed Biden, presidential candidate Barack Obama’s running mate, lacks the right experience to be president.

The poll found that Obama benefited more from his selection of Biden than McCain did by picking Palin. While 25 percent said they were more likely to vote for McCain because he picked Palin, 19 percent said they were less likely to support his candidacy. A majority, 55 percent, said the choice won’t affect their vote.

By contrast, 22 percent of voters said Biden’s selection for the Democratic ticket made them more likely to vote for Obama, while just 10 percent said they were less likely to support the Illinois senator’s presidential candidacy. Again, a majority — 67 percent — said the choice won’t matter in their vote.

The telephone survey of 505 voters had 4.5 percentage-point margin of error.

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