Democrat Barack Obama has soared 11 points ahead of Republican rival John McCain, taking a double digit lead for the first time in a Newsweek poll amid deep concerns about the economy.
Obama now leads McCain nationally by 52 per cent to 41 per cent among registered voters compared to a Newsweek survey carried out a month ago, before the economic crisis began to bite, which had the two candidates tied at 46 per cent.
The magazine said 86 per cent of the 1,212 voters polled between Wednesday and Thursday said they are dissatisfied with how things were going in the United States, with only 10 per cent saying they were satisfied.
The economy was the biggest concern with 48 per cent, and asked which candidate would better handle a number of issues, Obama topped every category over McCain except national security and terrorism.
"For context on just how toxic these numbers could be for the Republican party, consider that in October 2006, weeks before the Democrats swept control of both houses of Congress, only 61 per cent of voters expressed dissatisfaction," Newsweek wrote.
President George W Bush also scored record lows with only 25 per cent of those polled saying they approved of the job he was doing.
That figure was "close to the historic low approval rating of 22 per cent the Gallup poll recorded for President Truman in 1952," Newsweek said, of a poll which has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Obama led McCain on the economy and jobs by 54 per cent to 35 per cent, on the Iraq war by 47 to 46 and on health care by 56 to 30.
But voters still favoured McCain on national security and terrorism by 50 per cent to 40 per cent. And he narrowly led among independent voters, 45 to 43.
A separate poll by Fox News, said allegations of Obama's links to 1960s radical William Ayers which emerged this week had not changed voter intentions.
Some 900 voters were asked: "Does Obama's connection with Ayers make you less likely to vote for him as president or does it not really make a difference to your vote?"
Sixty one per cent said no, while 32 per cent said they were less inclined to vote for Obama.
Overall the poll gave Obama a seven point lead nationally over McCain, with 46 per cent to 39 per cent. It has a margin of error of 3.0 points.
Copyright 2008 AFP