McCain faces uphill battle in key states as Obama surges ahead

October 15th, 2008 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Oct 15 (IANS) As the US presidential race enters the last three weeks, a string of new state polls show Republican John McCain facing an uphill battle against Democrat Barack Obama in several key battlegrounds.A New York Times/CBS News poll released Tuesday found that if the election were held today, 53 percent of those determined to be probable voters said they would vote for Obama and 39 percent said they would vote for McCain.

The McCain campaign’s recent angry tone and sharply personal attacks on Obama too appear to have backfired and tarnished McCain more than their intended target, according to the nationwide poll.

Three other new surveys from Quinnipiac University, the Wall Street Journal, and suggest McCain is significantly behind in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Colorado - a state that hasn’t voted Democratic in 16 years and one where a loss could prove to be a fatal blow to McCain’s White House hopes.

“Obama is surging nationwide and we’re now seeing that reflected in almost all of the state polls,” noted CNN senior political researcher Alan Silverleib.

“Bush’s record low approval ratings have combined with a tanking economy, an unpopular war, an off-balance McCain campaign, and one of the largest fundraising disparities in campaign history to create the perfect political storm,” he added.

In Minnesota, the new Quinnipiac poll has Obama up 11 points over McCain, 51-40 percent. Incorporating other recent surveys from the state, a CNN poll of polls in Minnesota shows Barack Obama’s lead over the Arizona senator there is now about nine points.

It’s a similar picture in Wisconsin, where the Quinnipiac poll has Obama up 17 points, and where a new CNN poll of polls shows the Illinois senator with an 11 point lead. That’s nearly double the Democratic nominee’s lead just two-and-a-half weeks ago.

In Michigan, the state the McCain campaign officially pulled out of earlier this week, the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Obama with a 16 point lead.

In what could be particularly bad news for McCain, the new Quinnipiac survey also shows the Arizona senator down nine points in Colorado - a steep decline from polls taken earlier this week that suggested the race was tied there.

With McCain’s path to the nomination continuing to narrow, Colorado may just be a must-win state for the Arizona senator’s White House chances to stay alive, CNN said.

“Obama’s lead in Colorado - a state the Democrats have won only twice since 1952 - should be particularly worrisome for McCain,” Silverleib said. “Obama can win the White House without Colorado’s nine electoral votes, McCain almost certainly cannot.”

The New York Times said after several weeks in which the McCain campaign unleashed a series of strong political attacks on Obama, trying to tie him to a former 1960s radical, among other things, more voters see McCain as waging a negative campaign than Obama.

Six in 10 voters surveyed said that McCain had spent more time attacking Obama than explaining what he would do as president. By about the same number, voters said Obama was spending more of his time explaining than attacking.

With the election unfolding against the backdrop of an extraordinary economic crisis, a lack of confidence in government, and two wars, the survey described a very inhospitable environment for any Republican to run for office, the Times said.

More than eight in 10 Americans do not trust the government to do what is right, the highest ever recorded in a Times/CBS News poll. And McCain is trying to keep the White House in Republican hands at a time when President Bush’s job approval rating is at 24 percent, hovering near its historic low.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Friday through Monday with 1,070 adults, of whom 972 were registered voters, and it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for both groups.

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