A survey released this month by the independent Pew Research Center found that most voters described Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, as “a centrist whose views are fairly close to their own,” even though McCain describes himself as a thoroughgoing conservative. The same voters described Obama as the most liberal of the candidates still in the race, well to the left of what they saw as the midpoint of American politics.
And Obama ranked below both McCain and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination, on the question of whether the candidate was “tough enough” to protect the nation’s security.
Obama has “handicaps and potential problems, race being one of them, [but] it’s not the only one,” Pew Center President Andrew Kohut said. “He is perceived as a liberal. He is perceived by many voters as not well grounded on foreign policy and not tough enough . . . and he has a potential problem, distinct from race, of being seen as an elitist, an intellectual.?