Sunday, October 12, 2008



By NATION Reporter and Agencies

October 11 2008

In Summary
Based on the latest polls, Mr Obama has 264 electoral college votes, only six short of the 270 needed to win the election.

If the US election were held today, Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama would make history as the first black man to take the White House.

Mr Obama closed the week with a strong lead in the opinion polls, shrugging off a week of attacks by his Republican rival Senator John McCain.

Based on the latest polls, Mr Obama has 264 electoral college votes, only six short of the 270 needed to win the election.

But opinion could still turn in the remaining 20 days to the November 4 election date.

The Republicans, led by Mr McCain’s running mate Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska have been on the warpath, accusing Mr Obama of being a friend of terrorists and a secret Muslim.

The allegation refers to Mr Bill Ayers, now a college professor who more than 40 years ago led a group of radicals in planning attacks on government institutions in opposition to the Vietnam war.

At the time Mr Obama was only eight. Mr Obama and Mr Ayers have served on the boards of the same charities.

Mr McCain, with few prospects in Democratic-leaning states, is struggling to hold on to the states George W. Bush won in 2004, according to Bloomberg TV.

The station, on its website, said Iowa and New Mexico, where Bush won narrowly are now leaning towards Mr Obama.

And the traditionally democratic states that Mr McCain was eyeing — Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, “increasingly look like an uphill climb”, according to the website.

Mr Obama has made strong inroads into the Republican territories of Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana. He now leads, albeit with a small margin, in the swing states of Ohio and Florida.

The station quoted Republican campaign strategists saying Mr McCain must win in Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina if he is to take the White House.

A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics opinion poll among registered voters showed Mr Obama leading with 46 per cent and Mr McCain 39 per cent.

Mr Obama’s lead in this poll is about the same as in late September.

Half said the economy is the election’s top issue, with no other problem coming close.

More trust Obama than McCain with handling the economy, 50 per cent to 35 per cent, including a majority of independents.

More expect Obama than McCain to win the election by a 3-to-1 margin.

The poll of 900 registered voters was conducted between October 8 and 9 by telephone. Sampling error margin plus or minus three percentage points.A Newsweek poll found Mr Obama leading 52 per cent and Mr McCain trailing at 41 per cent.

A month ago, Mr Obama and McCain were tied at 46 per cent apiece in this poll.

The Democrat has a solid lead as the candidate who would do better with the economy and the financial crisis, and the one likelier to bring change.

The poll was also conducted between October 8 and 9 by telephone with 1,035 registered voters. Sampling error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points