Obama Widens Lead in State, Poll Shows
David M Brown and Mike Wereschagin, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Democrat Barack Obama has opened up a 12-point lead over Republican John McCain in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, a statewide poll to be released today shows.
As the presidential campaign enters its final days, Obama leads 51 percent to 39 percent in a state that McCain said he must win, according to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll conducted between Oct. 21 and Sunday for the Tribune-Review, WTAE-TV and other news outlets.
Obama's margin widened from a 7-point advantage the Democrat held in a late September survey by the same pollsters.
"The presidential race in this state didn't start to stabilize until about three weeks ago," poll director G. Terry Madonna said.
McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, are trying to reverse those gains. They spent much of the past two days campaigning in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. Obama campaigned in Pittsburgh on Monday and in Eastern Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
In Hershey, McCain said "it's wonderful to fool the pundits" and vowed to pull off an upset.
"I'm not afraid of the fight, I'm ready for it," said McCain, continuing his sharp assault against Obama during a raucous rally.
"Nothing is inevitable, we never give up," McCain said. "Let's go win this election and get this country moving again."
From Pennsylvania, McCain was heading to North Carolina; Obama, to Virginia.
Madonna believes the race in Pennsylvania has become stable, with Obama holding a double-digit lead.
"In important aspects of the poll, he seems well-positioned to carry the state unless Sen. McCain has a major breakthrough moment," Madonna said. "Obama has a huge proportion of Democrats. He has a huge lead among women and substantial leads in Philadelphia and Allegheny County."
McCain, however, leads Obama by 8 points in the region surrounding Allegheny County, according to the poll.
The telephone survey of 790 registered voters in Pennsylvania has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Among likely voters only, Obama's lead expands to 53 percent to 40 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. …