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McCain only 6 points behind Obama: poll

world Updated: Aug 26, 2008 01:19 IST
V Krishna
V Krishna
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

One poll says Republican candidate John McCain has come from behind to take the lead. Another says the US presidential race is a dead heat.

And a third shows Democrat Barack Obama still ahead.

For those of you who like to keep track of these things, a Reuters/Zogby monthly poll released on Wednesday gave McCain the lead for the first time, 46 per cent to 41 for Obama among likely voters.

The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update showed McCain and Obama tied at 45 per cent.

And a Washington Post-ABC News survey published on Sunday said Obama maintained a six-point advantage (49 per cent to 43).

What is clear as we head into the conventions — the Democratic jamboree begins later today in Denver and the Republicans meet next week in Minneapolis-St Paul — is that this is a close contest.

One of the things that make this race difficult to call is the number of voters who are not strongly committed to one side or the other.

According to the Washington Post-ABC News poll, about three in 10 voters are “movable” — those who are not solidly behind their pick or have yet to decide.

Two weeks ago, a Pew poll reported similar findings.

Another feature is the persistence of divisions in the Democratic Party.

The Post-ABC News survey found that although 70 per cent of Hillary Clinton’s supporters now say they back Obama, a chunk — 20 per cent — favours McCain.

Meanwhile, Republican support for McCain has solidiied, the Pew survey said.

A perceived lack of experience continues to be a hurdle for Obama.

In the Post-ABC poll, only half of registered voters said he has sufficient experience to serve effectively as president.

Another worry for Obama is an erosion of his lead on ability to deal with the flagging economy, clearly the top concern of voters.

In fact, the Reuters/Zogby poll gave McCain a nine-point edge, 49 per cent to 40, over Obama on who would be the best manager of the economy.

The Democrat is strongest on optimism and standing up to special interests.

Obama is trying to plug his perceived weaknesses.

By naming Senator Joe Biden as his running mate, he has added heft to the ticket (although an instant poll did not find a big payoff).

Biden may also take on an attack role, letting Obama stick to the high road. By giving Hillary a starring role in the convention, he hopes to assuage the feelings of her supporters. He needs them.

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