Obama Boosts Leadership Image and Regains Lead Over McCain

Barack Obama has achieved a significant lead over John McCain in the days following the first presidential debate. The Pew Research Center's new survey conducted Sept. 27-29 finds that Obama has moved to a 49% to 42% advantage among registered voters. The race was virtually even in mid-September and early August. Obama had not led McCain by a significant margin in a Pew Research Center survey since June.

The latest national poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted among 1,505 adults (including 1,258 registered voters) by landline and cell phone, suggests that three factors appear to be favoring Obama. First, more voters rate Obama's performance in last Friday's debate as excellent or good than say the same about McCain's (72% vs. 59%). Obama's leadership image also has improved. There is now almost no difference in the minds of voters as to which candidate would use better judgment in a crisis.

Second, the electorate continues to have much more confidence in Obama than McCain to deal with the financial crisis, which is dominating the public's attention at levels usually associated with wars and natural disasters. Obama also has widened his lead as the candidate best able to improve the overall economy, from nine points in mid-September to 18 points currently (51% to 33%).

Third, opinions about Sarah Palin have become increasingly negative, with a majority of the public (51%) now saying that the Alaska governor is not qualified to become president if necessary; just 37% say she is qualified to serve as president. That represents a reversal of opinion since early September, shortly after the GOP convention. At that time, 52% said Palin was qualified to step in as president, if necessary.

Read the full report Obama Boosts Leadership Image and Regains Lead Over McCain on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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