Wednesday, September 17, 2008

U.S. presidential polls will turn on unknowns in closing days

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (KUNA) -- Two top Democratic and Republican pollsters see the U.S. presidential election, which is by all measures a dead heat, being decided in the final days of the campaign by events that may yet be largely unknown.

With less than seven weeks to go before an election that Republican pollster Neil Newhouse described as the most exciting one in the United States in his lifetime, the economy reigns as the major issue of the campaign -- and Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg said this week's ongoing crisis on Wall Street, along with possible additional negative economic developments in the U.

S. in the coming weeks, will increase the likelihood that Democrat Barack Obama will win on Nov. 4.

Newhouse and Greenberg jointly addressed foreign media at the Foreign Press Center.

Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, said he was amazed that Republican John McCain "actually has a chance to win." Newhouse presented long-term polling data showing that the mood of the country remains overwhelmingly negative, with 67 percent of Americans polled last month saying the United States is on the wrong track, compared to only 18 percent who feel the country is moving in the right direction.

And few voters approve of the job that Republican President George W. Bush is doing, with this nearly two-year trend holding up as recently as a poll last week which showed 61 percent disapprove of Bush's performance compared to 34 percent expressing approval.

Yet Arizona Senator McCain, who has supported fellow Republican Bush's policies about 90 percent of the time in recent years, has not only pulled even in the polls with Obama; McCain has actually moved ahead slightly by some measurements.
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