Asked to volunteer a single word about presidential candidates, a majority of Americans offer “change” or “outsider” for Barack Obama and “old” for John McCain, an AP poll finds. The Democrat is perceived as warmer and more empathetic; the Republican is seen as stronger and tougher. Obama wins on likeability, while McCain takes the prize on decisiveness.
Negative and positive ratings have climbed for both men as the election season has worn on. A particular trouble spot for Obama is a 52% negative rating among whites, while 6 in 10 voters say McCain will carry on George W. Bush’s policies—a real problem for the Republican.