PRINCETON, NJ -- The Sept. 15-17 Gallup Poll Daily tracking update shows Barack Obama with a 48% to 44% lead over John McCain among registered voters, marking the first time that Obama has held a statistically significant lead in two weeks.
The presidential race has essentially devolved back to a structure very similar to what pertained throughout the months of June and July, during which time Obama consistently averaged a three percentage point lead over McCain. There have been fairly significant shifts over the last several weeks, including periods of time in and around the conventions during which both Obama and McCain established leads, and times when the race was essentially tied. But beginning this week, it appears the voters have settled, for the moment, back into the familiar pattern in which the race remains close with a slight tilt towards Obama.
Separate Gallup tracking shows that consumer confidence has become significantly more negative as this week progressed, signifying that Americans are clearly paying attention to the major problems facing Wall Street and the big drops in the stock market on Monday and Wednesday. It is not possible to determine precisely how much of Obama's gain this week may have been directly caused by Americans' reactions to the economic stories dominating news coverage in newspapers, television, and on the Internet, although this is a plausible explanation. (To view the complete trend since March 7, 2008, click here.) -- Frank Newport
(Click here to see how the race currently breaks down by demographic subgroup.)
For the Gallup Poll Daily tracking survey, Gallup is interviewing no fewer than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day during 2008.
The general-election results are based on combined data from Sept. 15-17, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,815 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
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