Not a complete disaster for The One — a plurality would still prefer to see him as president than McCain — but pay attention to the trend:

Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters say John McCain is prepared right now to be president, and 50% say the same thing about Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden. Forty-four percent (44%) say the man at the top of Biden’s ticket, Barack Obama, is ready, but 45% say he isn’t

Among voters not affiliated with either major political party, 71% say McCain is prepared for the Presidency while just 35% say the same about Obama…

The McCain-Obama numbers track roughly with what Rasmussen Reports has been seeing for several months when voters are asked if Obama is too inexperienced to be president. However, the number who viewed Obama as too inexperienced fell to 38% immediately following the Democratic National Convention late last month.

How to explain that seven-point lurch among people who think he’s too inexperienced? I want to believe it’s post-Palin collateral damage from the sudden explosion of worry within the media about trusting neophytes with the reins of power, but the truth is probably more mundane: Barry’s convention bounce ended and McCain’s RNC speech was a surprise success that doubtless ended up drawing some uncomfortable contrasts in viewers’ minds.

That’s not the only provocative trend, though. From a Rasmussen poll taken September 1, three days after Palin was chosen:

Voters overall by a 48% to 29% margin say Palin is not ready yet to be president, a view shared by 74% of Democrats and 48% of unaffiliated voters but only 16% of Republicans.

Versus yesterday’s poll:

Over half of voters (52%) say McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, is not prepared to be president, but 33% disagree…

68% of GOP voters think Palin is prepared to be president, but 82% of Democrats and a majority of unaffiliated voters (51%) say she is not. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of voters not affiliated with either major party believe Palin is ready to be president.

It’s close to the three-point margin of error, but needless to say, if the trend was the other way we wouldn’t be rushing to point that out. On the other hand, the photos don’t lie, and if Palin’s hurting him in the electoral college, it’s news to me. Exit question: What does this mean? “Asked which of the four candidates they’d most like to see as President, 42% say Obama, 35% McCain, 10% Palin, and 7% Biden.” How do we get from there to the fact that McCain leads 49/47 in the Rasmussen daily tracking poll?

Update: Speaking of Palin getting credit for post-convention aftershocks, Tapper appears to take at face value Team Barry’s claim that Palin blowback earned them an extra $10 million last month. She was picked the day after the Democratic convention ended; no doubt millions of people who’d never seen him before watched his speech the night before and were inspired. What reason is there to think they were donating because they dislike her and not because they like him?