A new NBC/WSJ poll has been released targeting which of the candidate’s liabilities they were most concerned about, and the results may just shock the hell out of you.

After a week of the media flogging the Wright story (again) as hard as they possibly could, you would think that the number one thing that concerned voters was Obama’s relationship with his former pastor, right? It’s a reasonable guess to make but boy would you be so totally wrong.

Neither Obama’s relationship with Wright nor with the former member of the Weather Underground, Bill Ayers, made the top of the list, instead finishing a paltry fourth place among chief concerns from voters. What made the top of the list?

John McCain’s close alignment with President George W. Bush.

After all, Jeremiah Wright, with all his black racist scary talk couldn’t come close to the damage that professed lover of America George W. Bush has managed to inflict on this country. At least, that seems to be the opinion of 43% of registered voters.

The next biggest liability among the three candidates happens to be Hillary Clinton’s honesty, or lack thereof, and her flip-floppery on issues such as free trade. This is followed by Obama’s “bitter” comments, and then comes his relationship with controversial figures.

Of course, looking at media coverage over the past week, and really, since Ohio, you would never know this given the almost laser like focus it has maintained on pronouncing Obama guilty by association. Which brings me to another interesting point.

Polling is almost always worse in the middle of a firestorm. After a story dies down, it’s not as though people automatically forget about one item or another, but they tend to put it into a more amicable context, and view it not as the only thing, but instead just a part of the picture.

That’s what makes this poll so incredibly remarkable, and really, a lot of polls that I have watched over the past few days.

When a firestorm occurs, the subject becomes the ONLY thing, taking up a disproportionately larger part of the whole picture. And through this firestorm Obama has, understandably, taken a hit in the polls. But what this poll shows, and other daily trackers, and snapshot polls as well, is that even when the Wright controversy is at its most potent, Obama still manages to perform at least as well, if not better, than his opponents.

As we progress what we will see, and we’re already seeing it now, is this Wright story will die down. Indeed, the focus is no longer on the story itself, but on the aftermath, and what damage the Obama campaign has taken as a result. Then we move onto the next phase of the story, where it returns to the back burner, and becomes just another part of the picture as opposed to being the whole thing.

And with Wright no longer hogging up the main stage, I think it reasonable to believe that Obama’s numbers will start crawling back upward over the next few days.

Meanwhile, the media has taken its focus off of what a plurality of voters are really concerned with: John McCain’s policy similarities with George W. Bush. Does this mean that all of a sudden the media is going to begin a feeding frenzy on McCain’s ties to the president?

Will McCain have to have a “More Perfect Union” speech where he attempts to begin a reconciliation between America and its chronic Bush Derangement Syndrome? Will he have to both denounce and reject Bush’s policies in order to stay alive?

Likely not. But remember this folks, after the media and a good chunk of the blogosphere cranked up the lynch-o-matic, it turns out fewer people cared than the attention warranted.

As for me, I just want my last week back. I feel like I just got ripped off.

More at Memeorandum: DownWithTyranny!, Salon, MyDD, Media Matters for America, Daily Kos and Greatscat

(edited by DrGail)

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