Is Obama damaged goods? Doesn’t look that way

His favorable/unfavorable numbers haven’t moved much since the Wright flap.

Based both on news coverage and on talking to people, I have been assuming that the Jeremiah Wright flap had done some real and lasting damage to Barack Obama’s standing with the voters.

Maybe it did. But the latest CBS News/NYT poll doesn’t show it.

In late Feburary, Obama’s favorable/unfavorable was 45/23.

In mid-March, after the flap, it was 44/28, suggesting maybe a little bit of damage.

This week, it’s back to 43/24.

NBC also shows little change from early March (pre-Wright) to late March (post-Wright).

Very positive 24 (-1) [McCain 14]

Somewhat positive 25 (-1) [McCain 31]

Neutral 18 (0) [McCain 26]

Somewhat negative 16 (+3) [McCain 15]

Very negative 16 (+1) [McCain 10]

Of course, maybe Obama’s “favorables” have gotten less enthusiastic, his “unfavorables” more hostile, and the “undecideds” now lean against him rather than for him. But if so, it’s happening mostly below the surface.

In the CBS/NYT poll, McCain is 35/29, again pretty steady since late February, and HRC is 38/39, with a slightly favorable trend despite the Bosnian incident.

Looking at these numbers it seems a tad far-fetched to imagine that, even in a Democatic year, McCain’s personal popularity is going to bring this one home for the Republicans.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: