With Americans worried about the global financial turmoil, Democrat Barack Obama has taken an 8-point lead over Republican rival John McCain just three weeks before the Nov 4 presidential election, polls show.
A new CNN poll of polls, comprised of six recently released surveys, ties the largest lead Obama has held over McCain this election cycle, and suggests the Republican presidential hopeful faces an increasingly difficult task to turn around voter sentiment by Election Day.
According to the new poll of polls, Obama leads McCain 50-42 percent with 8 percent still undecided. That number incorporates new polls from ABC/Washington Post, Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, Newsweek, Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby, Gallup, and Diageo/Hotline.
But McCain hit back at critics who say his presidential campaign is floundering, telling supporters in Virginia on Monday: "My friends, we've got them just where we want them."
"We have 22 days to go. We're 6 points down," he said. "The national media has written us off...But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them."
With voters' anxieties about the global financial turmoil pushing Obama's rise in the polls clearly on his mind, McCain insisted that he was the man to fix the economic crisis.
"I'm not going to spend 700 billion dollars of your money just bailing out the Wall Street bankers and brokers who got us into this mess" he said. "I'm going to make sure we take care of the people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington."
Meanwhile, Obama outlined a $60 billion plan in Ohio, a battleground state that has suffered from the US economic downturn tax credits and other steps to create jobs and to cushion Americans.
The plan includes penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts, temporarily barring banks from foreclosing on people trying to pay their mortgages and greater lending to states and municipalities.
McCain's campaign immediately dismissed Obama's plan.
"The American people heard a series of new proposals from Barack Obama on Tuesday, but what they did not hear was a promise to stop pursuing his massive tax increases," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds, saying raising taxes would have a "devastating effect" given the turmoil in the US financial markets.
While most recent national opinion polls show Obama extending his lead over McCain, in some cases to double digits, polls show a statistical dead heat in Ohio with Obama slightly ahead.