Obama leads McCain in 5 of 8 key states

Tue Nov 4, 2008 10:29am EST
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By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama leads Republican John McCain in five of eight key battleground states as Americans prepare to vote in the White House race, according to a series of Reuters/Zogby polls released on Tuesday.

Obama expanded his national lead to 11 points over McCain among likely U.S. voters in a separate Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby tracking poll, up from 7 points on Sunday. The telephone poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Obama appeared to be firmly in command of the presidential battle as Americans head to the polls on Tuesday, with McCain struggling to beat back a challenge from Obama in about a dozen states won by President George W. Bush in 2004.

The new state surveys showed Obama with a slim 1-point lead in Florida and 2-point edge in Ohio, within the margin of error of 4.1 percentage points. Obama had bigger leads in Virginia and Nevada.

Those four states, all won by Bush in the last election, have a combined 65 electoral votes. Along with states won by Democrat John Kerry in 2004 where Obama safely leads, they would give Obama 317 electoral votes -- more than the 270 needed to win the White House.

Obama leads by 10 percentage points in Pennsylvania, which McCain has targeted as his best chance to steal a state won by Kerry in 2004.

The classic bellwether state of Missouri, where Obama led by 1 percentage point on Monday, is now dead even at 49 percent.

McCain leads Obama by 5 points, 50 percent to 45 percent, in Indiana, a state that has not supported a Democrat for president since 1964. Obama plans an Election Day visit there to try to drum up the vote.   Continued...

<p>Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama leaves a polling station after voting at Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School in Chicago, November 4, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Young</p>