Washington, Oct 2 : Ahead of today's crucial vice-presidential debate, a new poll conducted by a leading American daily has found that Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's popularity has plummeted, and that she may now be a drag on her party's ticket among key voter groups.
Though she initially transformed the race with her energizing presence and a fiery convention speech, Palin is now a "much less positive force", said the findings of the poll conducted by the Washington Post, and added that six out of every 10 voters see her as "lacking the experience to be an effective president", and one third of the voters were now less likely to vote for McCain "because of her".
A month ago, voters rated Palin as highly as they did McCain or his Democratic rival Barack Obama, but after weeks of intensive coverage and several perceived missteps, the shine has diminished, said the poll findings.
Nearly one third of the adults in a new poll from the Pew Research Center said that they paid a lot of attention to Palin's interviews with CBS News's Katie Couric, a series that prompted grumbling among some conservative commentators about Palin's competency to be the GOP's vice presidential standard-bearer. The Pew poll showed views of Palin slipping over the past few days alone, added the paper.
It is the "experience question" that may prove to be Sarah's "highest hurdle", particularly when paired with widespread public concern about her party's Presidential candidate John McCain's age. About half of all voters said that they were uncomfortable with the idea of McCain taking office at age 72, and 85 percent of those voters said Palin does not have the requisite experience to be President.
The 60 percent who now see Palin as "insufficiently experienced" to step into the Presidency is steeply higher than in a Post-ABC poll after her nomination early last month. Democrats and Republicans alike are now more apt to doubt her qualifications, but the biggest shift has come among Independents.