A FOX News poll released Thursday shows the race between presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama has tightened considerably, with Obama now leading McCain by just three points among likely voters, 47 percent to 44 percent.
Just last week, Obama held a 49 percent to 40 percent lead over his Republican rival, but changes in several swing states has narrowed the margin the Democratic junior senator from Illinois has over McCain.
Among likely voters who say they are independent, Obama has gone from a 9 point lead over McCain last week to just 5 percentage points.
"Independent voters have long been regarded as one of the keys to this race and these results may foreshadow a tightening in the battleground states where independents carry disproportionate weight," says Ernie Paicopolos, a principal of Opinion Dynamics Corporation.
In addition, among white Catholics, Obama has completely lost the 11-point edge he held over McCain last week to a split this week of 46 percent to 46 percent.
McCain also has considerably increased the support he receives from his own party over Obama. Fully 88 percent of Republicans now back McCain, up from 83 percent last week, while Obama’s 89 percent of support among Democrats is only slightly up from the 88 percent he was receiving last week.
Among his backers, 88 percent say they support Obama "strongly" and 12 percent "only somewhat." For McCain, 78 percent of his voters support him "strongly" and 22 percent "only somewhat."
Among those who have voted early, Obama leads 52 percent to 43 percent over McCain, and newly registered voters say they will come out for Obama by 54 percent to 38 percent.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national poll from October 28 to October 29. The poll has a 3-point error margin. "
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