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Obama Leads in Poll; Economy Takes Center Stage

Philadelphia Tribune, News Report, Eric Mayes Posted: Sep 26, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama pulled ahead slightly with a 5-point lead, in the newest CBS/New York Times poll released on Thursday.

The figures showed Obama with 48 percent and Sen. John McCain with 43 percent. That margin represented a slight boost for Obama from the previous months results. In Augusts poll, he had 45 percent to McCains 42 percent.

It also found that Obama has a slight advantage among Independent voters and with undecided voters; 50 percent of undecided voters said they were leaning toward Obama. McCain by comparison had 46 percent support from those who said they were undecided.

Obama has been ahead of or tied with McCain in all of The New York Times polls since February with margins as high as 11 points. The number of undecided voters who said they supported him was unchanged since August. Support for McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin crept up 1 point from 45 percent in August.

The poll, in addition to gauging public support for the candidates, also asked potential voters to weigh the merits of the candidates in a broader sense.

It found that most of those polled thought Obama would win the election, with 45 percent saying Obama would prevail and 38 predicting a McCain win.

In other highlights: 60 percent of those polled said Obama understands their needs compared to 48 percent for McCain; 48 percent of those polled thought Obama was a typical Democrat compared to 57 percent who thought McCain was a typical Republican; 34 percent thought McCain would raise taxes; 49 percent thought Obama would raise taxes.

Most of those polled 46 percent said McCain would most likely continue the policies of President George W. Bush. Of those polled, 68 percent disapproved of the job Bush has done in office and 81 percent said the country was headed in the wrong direction.

A majority, 65 percent, said they thought Obama would bring change to Washington. Only 37 percent thought McCain would.

The poll also examined opinions on Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin.

Among Obama supporters, 27 percent said they were enthusiastic about Biden as a vice presidential possibility and 57 percent said he was well qualified as a candidate.

On the Republican side, feelings about Palin were much higher with 69 percent of Republicans enthusiastic about her. Only 17 percent said they thought she was well qualified for the job.

In polling on the issues, CBS and The New York Times found that potential voters overwhelmingly felt the economy was the number one problem facing the nation.

The majority also felt that Obama would handle economic problems better than McCain with 60 percent choosing Obama compared to 53 percent for McCain.

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