Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Poll: Obama 14-points ahead on eve of last debate

Poll: Obama 14-points ahead on eve of last debate

John McCain faces what could be his last big hope for turning around the U.S. presidential race amid a souring economy as a new poll gave Barack Obama a commanding lead on the eve of their last debate and less than three weeks before Election Day.
The new poll by CBS News and The New York Times released Wednesday showed Obama leading McCain by a commanding 53 percent over 39 percent _ a huge leap over the 48-45 lead Obama held in the same poll before last week's town hall debate. Other polls have also shown Obama leading, but by a lesser margin.
Both Obama and McCain will pursue the image of a strong leader in troublesome economic times as they meet Wednesday night at Hofstra University outside of New York City. Obama, meanwhile, will try to avoid any slip that could undercut his lead.
The financial crisis has transformed the campaign over the past month. Obama has built leads nationally and in key states as the turmoil has returned the Americans' focus to the unpopular policies of President George W. Bush. Now, the burden is on McCain to try to reverse his slide.
McCain unveiled new economic proposals as he campaigned in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. He previewed a possible debate strategy _ arguing that he would be different from Bush and better than Obama.
Their face-off comes as Obama widens his lead in typically Democratic states and campaigns with an air of optimism about his prospects, while McCain seeks a way to gain ground and finds himself defending traditionally Republican states with less than three weeks left in the race.
"We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. ... As president I intend to act, quickly and decisively," McCain said Tuesday in Pennsylvania.
One day earlier in swing state Ohio, Obama outlined his own economic plan and showed off his own pitch. He suggested that McCain was more of the same and that putting a Democrat in charge was the only way to fix the economy's woes: "It will take a new direction. It will take new leadership in Washington. It will take a real change in the policies and politics of the last eight years."
Wednesday's debate is slated to focus entirely on the economy and domestic policy.
Both presidential contenders have used the previous debates to make and remake their main campaign points, frequently sidestepping direct questions such as how they would have to scale back their long lists of campaign promises in light of the economic crisis.
Advisers for each candidate say he will use the final debate to lay out his vision for the country and promote his economic policies while drawing differences with his opponent.
Character attacks _ subtle or not _ also could occur.
Obama has increasingly labeled McCain "erratic" and "lurching" during the economic crisis. The words suggest unsteadiness on the part of the 72-year-old four-term senator.
The Democrat's campaign released a pre-debate memo Tuesday that argued McCain was "ill-equipped" to lead during this crisis, saying his response "has careened, sometimes changing course within the span of a single day."
McCain has accused Obama of lying about his association with 1960s radical William Ayers, a founder of the violent anti-war group Weather Underground. Obama was 8 years old when the Weather Underground claimed responsibility for a series of bombings. Now a professor in Chicago, Ayers hosted a meet-the-candidate session at his home for Obama as he prepared to run for the state Senate. Later, the two worked with the same charity and social-service organizations in Chicago.
McCain has softened that attack on the campaign trail in recent days, though not in his TV and radio ads.
His campaign assailed Obama's on Tuesday for its "failure to explain how it is that Barack Obama carried on a decade-long friendship with a man who sought to topple the U.S. government through violence."
However, many voters appear to be put off by such attacks, the CBS-New York Times poll released Tuesday showed. About a fifth of voters, 21 percent, say their opinion of McCain has grown worse in the last few weeks, citing his negative attacks and choice of Sarah Palin, a first-term governor of Alaska, as his running mate.
The CBS-Times poll was conducted Oct. 10-13 by telephone with 1,070 adults nationwide, including 972 likely voters. The sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
McCain has solidified and energized his base of Republican voters, but he has problems with his support among swing-voting independents. A recent Associated Press-GfK Poll showed them divided about evenly between the two candidates. That's a problem for McCain because Democrats decisively outnumber Republicans this year.
The CBS-Times poll gave Obama a 51 percent to 33 percent lead among independents.
Compounding McCain's woes, new Quinnipiac University polls released Tuesday showed Obama leading by double digits in two states that Democrat John Kerry won four years ago and that McCain is trying to put in his column this year _ Wisconsin and Minnesota _ as well as in Michigan, which McCain abandoned earlier this month.
Also, McCain's running mate Palin is being dispatched to campaign in usually Republican states such as Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia to shore up party support. However, McCain campaigned Tuesday in Pennsylvania and was to return there Thursday as well, a signal of the campaign's sustained effort to try to pick off that state that Kerry won in 2004.
Such strategies are key to the presidential race, which is won on a state-by-state basis rather than a nationwide popular vote. Each state has a different number of electoral votes that is roughly tied to its population.