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Gap closes as McCain and Obama raise stakes PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 22 August 2008

Barack Obama addressing a town hall meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina.US Election

Barack Obama and John McCain yesterday rode out intense speculation about their choice of running mates and took their campaigns to key battleground states, each candidate hoping to gain an edge in a tightening presidential contest, reports The Guardian.

Both campaigns released new hard-hitting adverts amid polls yesterday showing McCain narrowing the gap, or even slightly overtaking Obama. Overall the two candidates appeared virtually locked in their race for the White House.
In the Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg poll, Obama led McCain nationally 45% to 43%. The same poll gave Obama a 12-point lead in June. A Zogby International poll yesterday showed McCain ahead with 46% compared with 41% for the Democrat. Obama had led McCain by similar margins, 47% to 40%, in a poll last month.
Further polling of battleground states by Republican and Democratic pollsters also pointed to recent gains by McCain, particularly among independent voters.
McCain now has a 10-point advantage among independent voters, a field Obama had led by 14 points in May. But overall support shows a tie, with McCain at 47% support and Obama at 46%.
Despite the signs of slippage for Obama, Michael McDonald, a politics professor at Virginia's George Mason University, said the shift could merely reflect consolidating Republican support around McCain. "Obama has apparently lost some support, but we are still in a lock," he said. "We've essentially been in a holding pattern since the nominations were wrapped up."
That is now about to change. New ads yesterday signalled the approach of a more intense phase of the presidential campaign, following the announcement of running mates and the party's nominating conventions. The Democrats hold their convention in Denver next week, with the Republicans meeting in St Paul, Minnesota, the week after.
In a new television ad that will go on air in eight battleground states including Colorado and Virginia, Obama accuses McCain of cozying up to big business with corporate tax breaks at the expense of ordinary Americans. "Can we really afford more of the same?" the announcer asks.

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