Stephanopoulos: Battleground Swing Sees Obama Within Reach of 270 Electoral Votes

By Jennifer Parker

Oct 1, 2008 8:12pm

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reports: Barack Obama is building a widening lead over John McCain in key battleground states including Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio, new polls revealed today.

Obama is enjoying a shift in support in key battleground states thanks in part to his handling of the financial crisis, his performance in the first presidential debate, and souring views of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Obama is likely ahead in enough states right now to get 270 electoral votes.

Obama is leading McCain 51-43 in Florida, 50-42 in Ohio, and 54-39 in Pennsylvania, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Other polls in Florida confirm a lead for Obama, including a Suffolk University poll of Florida voters showing Obama leading McCain 46-42.

Time/CNN has another poll out today that has Obama leading McCain 51-47 in Florida, 54 – 43 in Minnesota, 49 -48 in Missouri, 51-47 in Nevada, and a stunning nine percentage point lead in Virginia of 53 to 44.

However neither campaign believes that Obama has that kind of a lead in Virginia right now.
But both campaigns see a shift in these key battleground states toward Obama.

The number one issue for voters right now is the financial crisis, which has put the focus of this presidential election campaign on the economy and on President Bush.

There is some evidence that voters believe Obama has been a steadier hand in this crisis than McCain, including our latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, which found the Democratic presidential candidate has a 14-point lead over McCain in trust to handle the economy.

The second reason for Obama’s lead is the first presidential debate held last Friday in Mississippi. Most polls show that Obama won the debate.

Finally, there is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who boosted McCain’s poll numbers after her selection and during the Republican convention.

However she has suffered from series of media interviews where she gave muddled responses and Saturday Night Live skits that are making her into a punch line. The number of Americans questioning her qualifications for office is rising steadily.

Palin has become a bit of a drag on the Republican ticket so far, and voters are even questioning their commitment to McCain because of that.

McCain officials know that this puts so much more pressure on her at Thursday night’s vice presidential debate in St. Louis to come through with no major gaffes.

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