Views of John McCain turned somewhat more negative last week, amid record public interest in economic news. In a survey conducted Sept. 19-22, fully half of the public said their opinion of the GOP nominee had changed in the past few days, with 30% saying their opinion has become less favorable and only 20% saying their view has become more favorable. McCain's public image had improved significantly the week he chose Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate and the week of the GOP convention.
While partisan views of McCain have remained relatively stable over this period, the balance of opinion among independents has shifted significantly. In the most recent poll, 30% of independents say their opinion of McCain has become less favorable in recent days, while 18% say their opinion has become more favorable. By comparison, the previous week only 21% of independents said their opinion of McCain had become less favorable and 28% said their view of him had become more favorable.
Views of Obama were more stable last week and have generally fluctuated less than have views of McCain in recent weeks. Overall, 25% of the public say their opinion of Obama has become more favorable in recent days, while 20% say their opinion has become less favorable; 53% say their opinion of the Democratic nominee had not changed recently.
The survey finds considerable public interest in Friday's scheduled presidential debate, which was cast into doubt by McCain's Sept. 24 announcement that he is suspending his presidential campaign. Fully 58% of Americans say they are very likely to watch the debate, while 24% said they are somewhat likely to tune in. More than six-in-ten Democrats (63%) and nearly as many Republicans say they are very likely to watch the debate. While independents are somewhat less likely to tune in, a majority (54%) say they are very likely to watch.
Read the full report McCain's Image Faltered in Week of Wall Street Woes on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.