How did that massive attempt to define Sarah Palin as dangerously unprepared to become the “standy President”, as one wag put it, work out for Barack Obama?  Decidedly mixed.  On the good side, he got 36% of the voters in the latest AP poll to agree with him.  On the bad side?  Well ….

The poll suggests that perceived inexperience is more of a problem at the top of the Democratic ticket than in the No. 2 spot for Republicans.

Eighty percent say McCain, with nearly three decades in Congress, has the right experience to be president. Just 46 percent say Obama, now in his fourth year in the Senate, is experienced enough.

Fully 47 percent say Obama lacks the proper experience — an even worse reading than the 36 percent who had the same criticism about McCain running mate Sarah Palin, serving her second year as Alaska governor after being a small-town mayor.

Hey, thanks for making experience an even bigger issue than before, Senator Obama!  After the first shrieks of “untested” went out about Palin, the Democratic offensive got everyone wondering about the credentials of the top of the Democratic ticket.  Result?  Epic fail.  More people believe Obama lacks enough experience for the job than believe him suitably prepared.

Overall, McCain takes the lead among likely voters by four, 48-44.  He has more base loyalty now than Obama, by eleven points.  And while Obama leads in younger voters, McCain’s lead is strongest among older voters — who show up more reliably to vote in elections.  He also has a large lead among white voters of all educational backgrounds, a sign that Obama may have the same problems he had in the later primaries once out of the urban areas.

The AP poll also confirms the Gallup findings that the generic Congressional ballot has narrowed considerably.  They have the Democrats with only a five-point lead, which bodes ill for any expansion of the Democratic majority.  Given the trends since the beginning of August, a Republican victory in the House appears a rational possibility instead of a pipe dream.

Democrats have to be dumbfounded at the state of the race with less than eight weeks to go before the election.   Their presidential ticket was supposed to usher in a new era of Democratic control.  I’d start watching for overt signs of buyer’s remorse in the next few days.