Which is more likely to make a candidate less effective if elected president?
The answer should be that neither age nor race can be viewed as disqualifying characteristics per se, but…
More than 8 out of 10 Americans say Obama’s race would make no difference in terms of his effectiveness in the White House. Of the rest, just as many say his being black would make him more effective as president as say it would make him less effective. Thus, as far the public is concerned, Obama’s race appears to be a wash in terms of perceptions about his ability to serve effectively as president.
Now, in interest of fairness, there are probably some who answer this way but feel differently. Race, after all, is a sensitive subject. But I suspect the numbers wouldn’t change that much.
John McCain’s age, however, is a different story:
There is more expressed concerned about McCain’s age. As is the case with Obama’s race, the majority of Americans say that McCain’s being 72 next January would not make any difference in terms of his effectiveness in the White House. But 23% say McCain would be less effective as a result of his age, while 11% say he would be more effective. The net result is a slightly negative view of the impact of McCain’s advanced age.
This could be a guess, but I think that 23% number is going to increase in the fall when people start paying attention. I’m not trying to be an ageist about this, but as someone with an elderly parent, I do have my questions about someone taking on the toughest job in the world in his 70s…but that’s just me. And at least 23% of the American population.
The whole post, with a nice graph is here.