FOX News Poll: More Than Half Believe Obama Doesn't Share Views of Pastor Wright

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Fifty-seven percent of Americans do not believe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama shares the controversial views of his former spiritual mentor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, while about one in four (24 percent) believes he does share Wright’s views. And a sizable minority has doubts about Obama because of his pastor’s comments, according to a new FOX News poll.

Republicans (36 percent) are more likely than independents (20 percent) and Democrats (17 percent) to think Obama shares Wright’s controversial and unpatriotic views. Whites (25 percent) are more likely than blacks (15 percent) to think so.

Over a third of voters (35 percent) and a quarter of Democrats (26 percent) and independents (27 percent) say Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright has caused them to have doubts about him. Here the racial breakdown is stark: 40 percent of whites and 2 percent of blacks have doubts.

"One of the hallmarks of Obama’s campaign has been his ability to attract independent voters. This doubt brought on by the Wright controversy has to be troubling for Obama," said Ernest Paicopolos, principal of Opinion Dynamics Corp.

Click here for full results. (pdf)

It’s unclear how much damage, if any, the situation will do to Obama’s standing in his head-to-head race with Hillary Clinton, as Democrats so far are still almost evenly divided in their preference: 40 percent say they want Clinton to be the nominee and 38 percent want Obama. In February, the vote preference was tied at 44 percent each.

All in all, Americans think your choice in friends says a lot about you: Almost 7 of 10 say they think the people you choose to be your friends reflect on you and your values. And 39 percent say your friends reflect on you "a lot."

Rev. Wright was Obama’s pastor and spiritual advisor for many years, and performed Obama’s wedding ceremony in 1992.

Most Americans — 72 percent — are familiar with the comments made by Obama’s former pastor.

Obama gave a speech on race in America in which he addressed Rev. Wright’s comments on March 18. Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from March 18 to March 19 in the evenings. The poll has a 3-point error margin.