An L.A. Times poll released this week reveals some interesting things about how voters are currently weighing in regarding an Obama-McCain match-up for the November presidential elections.

As of the moment (March 1, 2008), this particular poll indicates that they may be running pretty much neck-and-neck overall, with McCain holding a slight edge 44%-42%, but with a margin of error of 3 points. But, the gaps widen considerably when looking at how they are perceived on specific issues, according to Blake Dvorak at Real Clear Politics:

  • In terms of their appeal to independent voters, Mr. McCain more than holds his own with Mr. Obama (41% to 39%)
  • About who could best manage the economy, which a plurality of respondents consider the most important issue, Mr. McCain holds an eight-point lead (42% to 34%)
  • On the question of leadership, Mr. McCain has a six-point lead
  • On illegal immigration, Mr. McCain has an 11-point lead (40% to 29%)
  • On Iraq, Mr. McCain has a 13-point lead (47% to 34%)
  • On protecting the country from terrorism, Mr. McCain has a 37-point lead (58% to 21%)
  • On the question of experience, Mr. McCain has a 31-point lead (53% to 22%)
  • On health care, Obama has a strong lead over McCain (44% to 30%)
  • On the question of which candidate would change the way things are done in Washington, Obama has a strong lead (55% to 20%)

In the context of this IntegrityWatch Blog and the Politician Integrity Rating Tool, the poll result that interests me the most is that the two candidates split evenly on the question of integrity and honesty. This is in dramatic contrast to the PIRT results so far, which indicate a much wider gap between McCain and Obama when people actually look closely at the ten politician integrity dimensions the PIRT evaluates.

Once the virtually inevitable mud-slinging shifts into high gear, the public’s susceptibility to spin may influence these statistics more than any other single factor. The most useful thing voters can do to innoculate themselves from being manipulated by spin is to upgrade their integrity intelligence. This can be done in part through becoming well-acquainted with the ten dimensions of political integrity that the Politician Integrity Rating Tool measures, but to closely read The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World.