PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Wednesday through Friday finds Barack Obama maintaining his lead over John McCain among registered voters, by a 50% to 44% margin.
Obama has held at least a small margin over McCain in each of the last four daily reports, generally coincident with the start of the Wall Street financial meltdown that began to dominate the news on Monday this past week. Separate Gallup consumer confidence tracking has shown that Americans' views of the economy deteriorated as the week progressed, and that Americans also began to express increased personal worry about their own finances. There is thus a reasonable inference that Obama's gains may, in part, be related to the way in which the public viewed his and McCain's response to the financial crisis. Friday's economic news was a bit more positive, with the announcement of a pending major U.S. government bailout for the country's economy, and the second day of significant increases in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other stock market indices. It remains to be seen if this will affect Obama's lead in the days ahead.
Obama's current 50% rating matches his 50% record high reached just after the Democratic National Convention. (That came in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 30-Sept. 1.) However, his current six percentage point advantage is not as large as the nine-point lead he held in late July and an eight-point lead after the Democratic National Convention in late August. It is important to note that McCain recovered and moved ahead after each of these Obama high points, suggesting that it is certainly possible that McCain could recover in this situation as well.
Both candidates will be on stage at the University of Mississippi this coming Friday for the first of three presidential debates, and the public's reactions to the candidates' performances there could certainly have an impact on their election standing. (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. 17-19, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,756 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline 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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