- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Highlights of Associated Press-GfK polls of likely voters on the presidential race conducted in eight contested states:

FLEXING MUSCLE

Democrat Barack Obama had a solid lead in six of the eight states surveyed: Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. He and Republican John McCain were even in two others: Florida and North Carolina.

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A SOUR MOOD PREVAILS

Just 8 percent in New Hampshire said the country is moving in the right direction, the gloomiest figure in the poll. People were cheeriest in Florida, where a dismal 18 percent said things were going well.

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WIDESPREAD ECONOMIC WORRIES

Signaling how broad economic concerns are, 79 percent in Colorado said they worry about the economic conditions of their state. In North Carolina, 90 percent said they are concerned. More than half in Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania said they are very worried about their state’s economy. Brows are also furrowed over personal finances. Those saying their families’ financial situations worried them ranged from almost two thirds percent in Ohio to almost three fourths percent in Colorado and Pennsylvania. In every state but one, the worriers supported Obama over McCain. In North Carolina they were split.

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BANKING ON OBAMA

In every state, people said they trusted Obama more than McCain to fix the economy and financial crisis, to understand how the financial crisis affects them, and to address health care. McCain was more trusted in three states on national security _ Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. Obama was preferred on that issue in Nevada, while the two were tied in the rest.

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IRAQ DIVIDES VOTERS, BUT DOESN’T HURT OBAMA

Voters in three of the states leaned modestly toward opposing a fixed timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq: Colorado, Ohio and Virginia. Obama has favored setting a timetable, yet leads in all three states where it is mostly opposed. Voters were divided about evenly on a timetable in the other five states surveyed.

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VOTING BLOCS

Independents were divided evenly between McCain and Obama in Virginia and Pennsylvania and favored McCain in North Carolina, but leaned to Obama in the five other states. Women favored Obama in every state. Among men, Obama led in New Hampshire, McCain in Florida and they were tied elsewhere.

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IMPACT OF RACE

Asked whether certain qualities fit various minority groups, more than 10 percent of white Democrats in three states said blacks were “violent.” Among white Democrats in those states, 20 percent in North Carolina, 12 percent in Florida and 8 percent in Pennsylvania said they were voting for McCain. Overall, whites favored Obama in New Hampshire and were evenly split in the four other states.

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GOING NEGATIVE

In every state, voters by 2-to-1 or more said McCain’s campaign has been negative. Majorities in all but one said Obama has been positive; only in New Hampshire were voters evenly split on that.

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WANNA BET?

From six in 10 to almost three-quarters in each state predict Obama will be elected. McCain’s best showing _ the nearly three in 10 in Florida who see him winning.

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THUMBS DOWN FOR BUSH, CONGRESS

Only 14 percent in New Hampshire said President Bush is doing a good job, the survey’s low. Tied for the highest at a still dismal 28 percent were Florida, Ohio and Virginia. Congress’ grades were even lower, ranging from 10 percent approval in Nevada and New Hampshire to 16 percent in Florida.

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