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Most Voters Worry About Economy

The poll began the night after the first presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. While a plurality of voters said Obama performed better than McCain, 38 percent to 24 percent, large numbers said it was a tie.
The poll began the night after the first presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. While a plurality of voters said Obama performed better than McCain, 38 percent to 24 percent, large numbers said it was a tie. (By Linda Davidson -- The Washington Post)
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Obama continues to hold sizable advantages on bringing change to Washington (he is up 28 points on that front), topping 60 percent for the first time. Obama also has large advantages on having the better personality and temperament (up 23 points) and, as noted, understanding people's economic problems (up 19 points).

In the race for the White House, McCain and Obama are running evenly among men, with Obama up seven points among women. Each wins about nine in 10 voters from his own party, which gives Obama a small advantage because more Americans identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans.

In the current poll, the candidates split independents about evenly -- 48 percent for McCain, 45 percent for Obama. Independents, one of the keys to the outcome of the election, have shifted back and forth between the two over the past few months.

Interest continues to edge higher, with 58 percent of all voters now paying "very close" attention. That is more than twice the level of intense focus as there was at this point in the 2000 election.

The poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 27 to 29, among a random national sample of 1,271 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Error margins for subgroups are higher. Some questions were asked of a parallel sample of 520 randomly selected adults on Sept. 29; those results have a four-point error margin.

Polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.


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