When voters actually focus on the Democratic race, and listen to the arguments and observe the character of the candidates close-up, Obama tends to do well. The latest ABC News poll from Iowa must be encouraging for his campaign:
Most Democratic likely voters in Iowa, 55 percent, say they're more interested in a "new direction and new ideas" than in strength and experience, compared with 49 percent in July -- a help to Obama, who holds a substantial lead among "new direction" voters...
While Clinton still leads on more personal attributes than any of her competitors, just half of Iowa Democrats in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll believe she's willing to say what she really thinks -- far fewer than say so of either Obama or John Edwards. Obama beats her by 2-1 as the most honest and trustworthy candidate.
Clinton is the only candidate, Democrat or Republican, with higher unfavorable than favorable ratings; 45 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of her, while 38 percent have a favorable opinion.