Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama entered final hours of the election campaign with a solid, though narrowing, lead over his powerful Republican rival John McCain.
A just released Wall Street Journal poll shows the Democrat with an eight-percentage-point advantage, down from the 10-point edge he held last week. The Republican was still hoping he could gain further traction in the campaign's closing hours with now-familiar charges that Obama is too liberal and not ready for the job.
Obama's lead, reflected in other national and battleground state polls as well, has been in place since September, when the financial crisis reset the presidential contest. McCain's advisers were gunning for a come-from-behind victory, noting that he did it before to capture the Republican nomination, the Journal said.
The new Wall Street Journal poll, conducted Saturday and Sunday, found 51 per cent of likely voters favoured Obama, versus 43 per cent who favoured McCain.
Six per cent remained undecided, with a third of those saying they were leaning toward a third-party candidate. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
"The poll shows some slight movement for McCain. But with just 48 hours left, it's going to be a challenge to make up the rest of the difference," Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster who conducts the survey with Democrat Peter D. Hart, told the Journal.
"This poll has all the earmarkings of an electorate that has reached an opinion that Barack Obama would be a good president," Hart said. "The uncertainties [about Obama] that were so prevalent early in the year have just melted away."