ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reports: Stakes are high for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin going into tonight’s vice presidential debate with Sen. Joe Biden, D-Dela., with the latest poll finding she has become a drag on the Republican ticket.

Any mistake or gaffe by Palin could be fatal with a new poll finding voters are now questioning their commitment to Republican presidential candidate John McCain because of her.

About one third of likely voters, 32 percent of likely voters now say Palin makes it less likely they’ll vote for McCain, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll released today.

Palin is beginning to have a big credibility problem: 60 percent of Americans are now doubting her qualifications for office, up 15 points from an ABC/Post poll last month.

The poll found a minority of likely voters, 35 percent, believe she is experience enough to be president.

The ABC poll also suggests that questions about Palin are reinforcing concerns about McCain’s age. Almost half of voters, 48 percent, now say the senator’s age is a worry — a new high — and 85 percent of that group say that Palin is not qualified to serve as President.

It hasn’t been an easy month for the Alaska governor. Palin initially boosted McCain’s poll numbers, but after refusing to speak to the media she gave a few select interviews where she gave muddled responses.

Contributing to her perception problem: more voters have likely seen the Saturday Night Live sketches making fun of her rather than hearing her speak on the campaign trail.

It’s all cementing in the minds of voters a preconceived notion that Palin is ill-prepared for the job.

Biden’s poll numbers contrast starkly with Palin’s with 75 percent of Americans saying he understands complex issues, 70 percent saying he has suitable experience to take over as president if necessary, and just 13 percent saying the Delaware senator makes them less apt to support Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

In his debate against Palin tonight, Biden will try to show gracious restraint, and focus his attacks against McCain, Obama campaign aides tell ABC News.

Meanwhile McCain campaign aides say Palin will attempt to aggressively take the fight to Obama.

Source: ABC

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