Local Politics

Poll: Presidential, Senate races still tight

Barack Obama has a two-point lead over John McCain, while Kay Hagan has a three-point lead over U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, according to a new WRAL News poll.

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WRAL News Poll image
Editor's note: An poll conducted Sept. 18 by Rasmussen Reports contained a mistake in the wording of one of the questions, so the firm conducted a new poll to correct the error.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama holds a 49 to 47 percent edge over Republican John McCain among North Carolina voters, according to a WRAL News poll released Thursday.

Polling firm Rasmussen Reports surveyed 500 likely voters across the state on Tuesday and found the race clearly breaks along racial and ideological lines. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

About two-thirds of white voters back McCain, while 98 percent of black voters and 56 percent of other minority voters support Obama, according to the poll. Obama also garnered the support of 71 percent of people who identified themselves as moderate and holds a 51 to 41 percent lead among independent voters, according to the poll.

McCain is favored more by older voters and those with families, but the poll shows a growing gender gap in the presidential race, with 55 percent of women backing Obama and 41 percent for McCain.

McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate appears to have had little impact on his standing among female voters. Fifty-two percent of women surveyed had a favorable image of Palin, but 40 percent said she was the wrong choice as a vice presidential candidate.

The economy is by far the top election issue among North Carolina voters, with 46 percent calling it most important. National security issues ranked a distant second at 22 percent, followed by fiscal issues at 9 percent.

Meanwhile, Democrat Kay Hagan has a 48 to 45 percent lead over incumbent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole with six weeks left until the election, according to the poll.

The numbers are a turnaround from a WRAL News poll taken in July, when Dole held a 53 to 41 percent advantage.

Hagan has a double-digit lead among female voters in the latest poll, as well as overwhelming support – 78 percent – among black voters. Dole leads among independents by 51 to 33 percent and among voters with families and older voters.

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