Democratic Senator Barack Obama has captured a 12-point lead over Republican Senator John McCain at the opening of the general election campaign for president, according to a poll published on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll attributed the lead to enthusiasm among Democrats and public concern over the economy.
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks at the US Conference of Mayors in Miami, Florida June 21, 2008. Obama has captured a 12-point lead over Republican Senator John McCain at the opening of the general election campaign for president. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Obama's advantage was bigger in this poll than in most other national surveys.
In a two-man race between the major party candidates, registered voters chose Obama over McCain by 49 percent to 37 percent in the national poll conducted last weekend.
On a four-man ballot including independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr, voters chose Obama over McCain by an even larger margin, 48 percent to 33 percent.
Both Democrats and independent voters say Obama would do a better job than McCain at handling the nation's economic problems, the public's top concern, the poll found.
In contrast, many voters give McCain credit as the more experienced candidate and the one best equipped to protect the nation against terrorism – but they rank those concerns below their worries about the economy, according to the poll.
Moreover, McCain suffers from a pronounced "enthusiasm gap", especially among the conservatives who usually give Republican candidates a reliable base of support. Among voters who describe themselves as conservative, only 58 percent say they will vote for McCain; 15 percent say they will vote for Obama, 14 percent say they will vote for someone else, and 13 percent say they are undecided, the poll said.
By contrast, 79 percent of voters who describe themselves as liberal say they plan to vote for Obama, the poll showed.
In this national poll's random sample of voters, 39 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 22 percent as Republicans, and 27 percent as independents.
The survey also found public approval of President George W. Bush's job performance at a new low for the Times/Bloomberg Poll: only 23 percent approved of the job Bush is doing, and 73 percent disapproved.
The Times/Bloomberg Poll interviewed 1,115 registered voters across the nation June 19-23. The poll's margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2008)