The US presidential candidates throttled back partisan campaign attacks and joined fellow senators in passing a US$ 700 billion financial bailout, but the spirit of harmony was likely to be short-lived given Republican John McCain's slip in new polls.
McCain and Democratic opponent Barack Obama both backed the unprecedented rescue package that was designed to avert a meltdown in the US financial system and a deep recession, threats that have compounded already heavy voter anxiety. The wobbling American economy was intruding as deeply on this presidential contest as any since the 1930s Great Depression.
After last week's first presidential debate - about half of which was devoted to the economy - a Quinnipiac University survey showed Obama's support had jumped to 50 per cent or above in three must-win states.
The survey showed him leading McCain in Florida by 51 per cent to 43 per cent, in Ohio 50 per cent to 42 per cent and in Pennsylvania 54 per cent to 39 per cent. Since 1960, no president has been elected without winning two of those three states.
In a separate poll by The AP and GfK, Obama surged to a seven-point lead, 48-41 per cent, nationally - a dramatic shift from a slight edge for McCain nearly three weeks ago.
Also, a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corp poll showed Obama leading in the battleground states of Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, and Nevada, though in some cases the difference was as narrow as 1 percentage point.
The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found Obama had expanded his lead to seven points, 49-42 among registered voters. In Pew's previous round of questioning, Obama was leading by just two points, 46-44.
And a CBS News national poll released yesterday gave Obama a 9 point lead, 49 per cent to 40 per cent for McCain.