New York, Oct 31 : A growing number of voters have concluded that Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, is not qualified to be vice president, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
Fifty nine percent of voters surveyed said that Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month.
Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.
And in a possible indication that the choice of Palin has hurt McCain's image, voters said they had much more confidence in Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in McCain.
After nearly two years of campaigning, a pair of hotly contested nominating battles, a series of debates and an avalanche of advertisements, the nationwide poll found the contours of the race hardening in the last days before the election on Tuesday.
Twelve percent of the voters surveyed said they had already voted.
Some perceptions of race are changing, with a marked increase in the number of people who say they believe that white and black people have an equal chance of getting ahead in America today.
While a majority viewed Palin as unqualified for the vice presidency, roughly three-quarters of voters saw Obama's running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, as qualified for the job.
The increase in the number of voters who said Palin was not prepared was driven almost entirely by Republicans and independents.
Over all, views of Palin were apparently shaped more by ideology and party than by gender.