A recent Gallup poll puts some interesting associations the candidates share into perspective. After weeks of heat for comments made by his pastor, Barack Obama still blew out Hillary Clinton in the North Carolina primary and nearly stole Indiana in the process. Despite dire warnings that the Jeremiah Wright flap would sink Obama's campaign, it seems run of the mill Democrats weren't as concerned with their relationship as some pundits (and one candidate) presumed.
Contrast that with John McCain's associating with a particularly polarizing character who, according to recent polling, is almost universally disliked by the American voting public: George W. Bush.
Bush, who is facing upwards of a 71% disapproval rating, seems to be a heavier drag than Jeremiah Wright.
Gallup sums it up:
Number of likely voters who say Bush makes them less likely to vote for McCain: Thirty-eight percent.
Number of likely voters who say Wright makes them less likely to vote for Obama: Thirty-three percent.
Additionally, 64% of likely voters say Obama's association with Wright won't affect their vote in any way.
That's not to say that a perfectly tuned Rovian message couldn't turn that balance. As we know, race baiting and insinuation work well in the south and parts of the Midwest. John McCain can attest to that better than most white politicians out there, so will he ensure that Barack Obama doesn't face the same embarrassing and shameful treatment at the hands of Bush's brain? Time will tell, but I am predicting a LONG summer.