Obama leads by 61-35 percent among people who are worried about the economy's future and by 73-22 percent among those who are very worried; among those who aren't worried, McCain's favored by 79-15 percent. Similarly, those worried about their own family's finances favor Obama by 2-1; not worried, McCain by 21 points.
In another measure, 51 percent of registered voters say the economy's in a serious long-term decline, vs. 45 percent who say it's "a normal downturn that will correct itself before too long." This was a little worse before the 1992 election – 56-37 percent. It, too, strongly cuts to vote.
The shift toward Obama is not limited to economic issues; as he's gained the upper hand on the pre-eminent factor, others have moved along as well. McCain had led by 10 points in trust to handle the Iraq war; now they're essentially even (Obama +4). McCain's 20-point lead on terrorism is now an insignificant 4 points, the closest of the campaign.
And they're now even in trust to handle international affairs, back to July's result.
On personal attributes, Obama's turned a scant 6-point deficit on honesty and trustworthiness into an 11-point advantage, while the two remain essentially even when it comes to who's the stronger leader.
A shortfall continues for Obama in being seen as ready to serve as commander-in-chief of the military; fewer than half, 48 percent, think he'd do that well, compared with 72 percent for McCain.
These are unchanged, as is the fact that more say McCain knows enough about world affairs to serve effectively (72 percent) than say the same about Obama (56 percent).
Nonetheless still a majority says Obama passes that hurdle, similar to the 2000 election, when far more said Al Gore knew enough about world affairs (73 percent) as said the same about George W. Bush (54 percent). For Bush it was enough.
A few more groups are worth a look.
Obama continues to enjoy nearly unanimous support from African-Americans, 96 percent, while McCain's edge among whites is a slight 50-45 percent. Obama continues to do best with under-30s, but the contest is a dead heat among seniors.
Among likely voters, Obama's winning 77 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who'd supported Hillary Clinton for the nomination. That hasn't changed, but nonetheless among all leaned Democrats Obama's got 88 percent support, about even with McCain's 87 percent from leaned Republicans.
Partisanship has not significantly changed.
Among registered voters 38 percent in this poll identify themselves as Democrats, 28 percent as Republicans and 29 percent as independents. That's very similar to what it was in the last ABC News/Washington Post poll -- 36-28-32 percent -- the previous one, and indeed the average all year, 38-28-30 percent.
What's changed, instead, is the preference among independents, one of those swing voter groups to watch closely in the next 40 days.
METHODOLOGY: This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 19-22, 2008, among a random sample of 1,082 adults, including an oversample of African Americans (weighted to their correct share of the national population), for a total of 163 black respondents. Results among the 916 registered voters surveyed have a 3-point error margin; among the 780 likely voters, 3.5-points. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, PA.