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Obama leads McCain in November match: Reuters poll

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN2034087120080521?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true Obama leads McCain in November match: Reuters poll
    Message 1 of 1 , May 21, 2008
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      http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN2034087120080521?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true

      Obama leads McCain in November match: Reuters poll
      Wed May 21, 2008 7:15am EDT

      By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama has
      opened an 8-point national lead on Republican John
      McCain as the U.S. presidential rivals turn their
      focus to a general election race, according to a
      Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

      Obama, who was tied with McCain in a hypothetical
      head-to-head matchup last month, moved to a 48 percent
      to 40 percent lead over the Arizona senator in May as
      he took command of his grueling Democratic
      presidential duel with rival Hillary Clinton.

      The Illinois senator has not yet secured the
      Democratic presidential nomination to run against
      McCain in November.

      The poll also found Obama expanded his lead over
      Clinton in the Democratic race to 26 percentage
      points, doubling his advantage from mid-April as
      Democrats begin to coalesce around Obama and prepare
      for the general election battle with McCain.

      "Obama has been very resilient, bouncing back from
      rough periods and doing very well with independent
      voters," pollster John Zogby said. "The race with
      McCain is going to be very competitive."

      The poll was taken Thursday through Sunday during a
      period when Obama came under attack from President
      George W. Bush and McCain for his promise to talk to
      hostile foreign leaders without preconditions.

      Obama's gains followed a month in which he was plagued
      with a series of campaign controversies and suffered
      two big losses to Clinton in Pennsylvania and West
      Virginia.

      The poll was conducted after Obama denounced his
      former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who made a
      series of public appearances that rekindled a
      controversy over his inflammatory comments on race and
      religion.

      Obama also survived a furor over his comments about
      "bitter" small-town residents who cling to guns and
      religion out of frustration over their economic
      concerns.

      Obama edged closer to clinching the Democratic
      nomination on Tuesday when he split two nominating
      contests with Clinton, beating the New York senator in
      Oregon and losing in Kentucky to gain a majority of
      pledged delegates won in state-by-state nominating
      contests.

      The results put him within easy range of the 2,026
      delegates needed for the nomination. Just three
      Democratic nominating contests remain before voting
      concludes on June 3.

      OBAMA BETTER ON ECONOMY

      The poll found Obama was seen as a better steward of
      the economy than McCain, leading 48 percent to 39
      percent. McCain led Obama by 3 points last month on an
      issue that is certain to be crucial in their campaign.

      Obama led McCain among independents, 47 percent to 35
      percent, and led among some groups of voters who have
      backed Clinton during their Democratic primary battle,
      including Catholics, Jews, union households and voters
      making less than $35,000 a year.

      McCain led among whites, NASCAR fans, and elderly
      voters. McCain led with voters who believed the United
      States was on the right track, and Obama led with the
      much higher percentage of voters who believed it was
      on the wrong track.

      "Clearly voters are looking for change. Every problem
      Obama has had in consolidating his base and reaching
      to the center, John McCain has the same sort of
      problem," Zogby said.

      "It's McCain's lead among voters over the age of 65
      that is keeping him within shouting distance of
      Obama," he said.

      The poll found Clinton, who has shrugged off calls to
      quit the Democratic race, tied at 43 percent with
      McCain in the national poll. She led McCain by 47
      percent to 40 percent on who would be the better
      manager of the economy.

      Obama and Clinton have refrained from attacking each
      other in recent weeks as Obama has turned his focus to
      McCain.

      But Zogby said the attacks on Obama by Bush and
      McCain, who have been critical of his willingness to
      talk to leaders of countries like Iran, did not appear
      to hurt Obama. If anything, he said, it reminded
      voters of McCain's ties to Bush, whose approval rating
      is still mired at record lows.

      "The president is so unpopular. To inject himself into
      a presidential campaign does not help John McCain,
      particularly when McCain is tied to Bush," Zogby said.

      The national survey of 516 likely Democratic primary
      voters had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
      The poll of the national race between McCain and the
      two Democratic contenders surveyed 1,076 likely voters
      with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

      (Editing by Doina Chiacu)

      (For more about the U.S. political campaign, visit
      Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/)
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