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Money talks; Obama and Palin not so much

With all the competing messages and endorsements zipping from candidates to voters this fall, there’s one thing that cuts through all the noise: the bacon. As in, bringin’ it home.

A Pew Research/National Journal poll released Monday found that 53 percent of Americans said they were more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who had a record of directing spending to their districts. And only 12 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a congressional candidate that didn’t secure earmarked funds for his or her district.

(A tip of the cap to the PostPartisan blog, which brought the poll to my attention.)

(And a semi-tangential aside: Barack Obama topped John McCain and his campaign against congressional pork projects 53-46 in 2008. Coincidence? Probably.)

The Pew poll showed voters with more tepid responses to candidates backed by Obama, former McCain running mate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, those affiliated with the Tea Party and independents.

Twenty-seven percent said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate with Obama’s endorsement, while 28 percent said they would be less likely. Veep Joe Biden has already been to Maryland for a fundraiser for Gov. Martin O’Malley. And it’ll be interesting to see how much the top Dems in DC stump for O’Malley as the election wears on. The governor, as you may recall, endorsed Hillary Clinton in her failed run at the Democratic nod in 2008.

Tea Party affiliation for candidates turned off 31 percent of voters, while 22 percent said they would be more likely to vote for that candidate.

Palin got an even more negative reaction – 38 percent said her endorsement would make them less likely to vote for a candidate, while 18 percent said her backing would make them support a candidate.

O’Malley’s challenger in chief, Bob Ehrlich, has already knocked down the idea that Palin and other national GOP figures will barnstorm Maryland on his behalf. With those strong negatives coming from Democrats (58 percent) and Independents (36 percent), and positives likely coming from a base that Ehrlich has locked up anyway, that’s not much of a surprise.

Independents were more split on Tea Party candidates – 25 percent more likely to support and 27 percent less likely.

The poll of 1,003 voting-age U.S. residents was conducted by telephone from July 29 to Aug. 1.