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Polls Show Obama Lead Growing

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Polls Show Obama Lead Growing

Election 2008

Polls Show Obama Lead Growing

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Trends in political polling. We're joined by NPR's Ken Rudin, political editor. Ken welcome back to Day to Day. And several polls are showing numbers moving toward Barack Obama.

KEN RUDIN: Yeah, I think, Alex, it started with the debate. I think it also started with the economic downturn, the worries on Wall Street. When it comes to the economy you have to remember that the last eight years it's been George Bush in the White House, it's been the Republicans in control. And it looks like if you look at - the polls are accurate, John McCain is paying for it.

CHADWICK: Let's talk about a couple of different poll numbers, national poll numbers and then state numbers. We'll begin with national. The Pew Center for Research says that Senator Obama now has a clear and significant lead over Senator McCain, 49% to 42% national numbers. The first time that Pew has found this since June.

RUDIN: Right. That's good news for Obama. Of course other national polls, other national surveys, have also shown Obama if not pulling away, certainly with a lead of four or five, six points. Again when the focus is on the economy and as James Carville said, you know, "it's the economy, stupid", and Alex, you don't mind if I call you stupid do you? Because I've done that before.

But with the economy, the focus it takes away the strength of John McCain. John McCain has admitted over and over again that he is not an expert on economic matters, and it indicates that in the polls. But even though it's a national survey, remember this is not a national election. It's 51 separate elections, 50 states plus the District of Columbia. And in those states you also see an Obama lead starting to open up.

CHADWICK: Well, that's it. there are these so-called "battleground states" or "swing states", Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Colorado. I've been following these states in polls at a site called, "Real Clear Politics". And over the last 10 days you see every day a little bit, you know, two tenths of a point, three tenths of a point, these states moving more towards Senator Obama.

RUDIN: Exactly, and the key of course is 270 electoral votes. And with five weeks to go - less than five weeks to go, it seems to be moving in Barack Obama's direction. But in a state like Ohio, no Republican has ever been elected president without winning Ohio. In the latest Quinnipiac poll Obama has opened up a sizable lead. In Florida where John McCain had been leading for the longest time, Barack Obama seems to have opened up a four or five, six points lead.

And in Pennsylvania, the other state that Quinnipiac has polled, McCain has worked very hard to win over blue collar whites. It sounds like I'm doing laundry here, but blue collar white voters, things like that. And yet Obama seems to be keeping Pennsylvania in a Democratic column. It's hard to see where - what blue states that John Kerry and Al Gore won in 2004-2000, that McCain could pry away from Obama at this point anyway.

CHADWICK: There's another piece at politico.com today saying that several Republican state chairmen are getting very anxious about this and they're talking to the McCain campaign.

RUDIN: Well, I don't know what they could say. Obviously Thursday night's debate, vice presidential debate, there will be a tremendous amount of attention on that. Sarah Palin, which once upon a time gave the Republican ticket a boost, now seems to be a drag on the Republican ticket. And again, you know, even if you talk about different states where Republicans are nervous, in Indiana which has gone Republican every election since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson won. Republicans are in the air in Indiana for the first time in at least a dozen years, which shows the kind of nervousness that they're under.

CHADWICK: NPR Political Editor Ken Rudin with us from Washington. Ken, thank you.

RUDIN: Thank you, Alex and I'm sorry I called you stupid.

(Soundbite of music)

CHADWICK: Stay with Ken Rudin and all the rest of us clunk-heads, on Day to Day from NPR News.

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