Strong support from working-class and suburban whites and a higher score on experience pushed Republican presidential candidate John McCain past Democrat Barack Obama in a new poll.
The Associated Press-GfK poll released on Friday said McCain leads Obama 48 per cent to 44 among likely voters.
Another poll gave McCain a nearly identical lead. The Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll for Friday said McCain was ahead 48 per cent to 45, his largest lead, suggesting continued bounce from the Republican convention.
Less than two months from Election Day, 80 per cent of those polled by AP said McCain, with nearly three decades in Congress, has the right experience to be president. The figure for Obama, in his fourth year in the Senate, was 46 per cent. In fact, 47 per cent said Obama lacks the proper experience, a worse showing than McCain running mate Sarah Palin’s at 36 per cent.
McCain leads Obama by 55 per cent to 37 among whites; the margin is 24 points among suburban whites and 26 points among whites who haven’t finished college.
But this should come as no surprise. At least since 1972, no Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of the white vote. In 2004, President George Bush defeated John Kerry among whites by 58 per cent to 41.
McCain has a 13-point lead over Obama among both men and senior citizens and a 23-point advantage among rural residents, AP said.
He’s also doing better than Obama at consolidating support from party loyalists: 94 per cent of Republicans back McCain, while 83 per cent of Democrats support the Illinois senator. This continues a trend of hardening Republican support for McCain.
But the poll had good news for Obama, too. He’s preferred two-to-one by those who say the economy is in poor shape. Many surveys say the economy is the top issue for the public.