The NEWSWEEK Poll: Holding Steady

Jonathan Darman reports:

With less than two weeks left in the presidential contest, Barack Obama continues to hold a commanding double-digit lead over John McCain according to the latest Newsweek poll. Among registered voters nationwide, Obama now leads McCain by 13 points, 53 percent to 40 percent. Among likely voters, Obama's lead is similarly strong, 53 percent to 41 percent.

Obama's lead in the Newsweek poll is consistent with other recent national polls, including soundings taken by CBS News and The New York Times, The Washington Post and ABC News, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal and by Pew Research, all of which measured Obama's lead over McCain as somewhere between 10 and 14 points. In the Newsweek Poll, Obama's lead stayed virtually unchanged from two weeks ago, when he led McCain 52 to 41 among registered voters. (For the complete results, click here.)

The new poll suggests Obama is consolidating his support across demographic groups. He now leads McCain in every age group, even among voters 65 and older, who choose him over McCain 48 percent to 42 percent. He leads handily among men, 52 percent to 42 percent, and among women, 54 percent to 39 percent. He now leads McCain by 46 percent to 44 percent among working class whites, a dramatic reversal from April, when McCain led him in that group 53 percent to 35 percent.

Still, McCain's attempt to raise anxiety about Obama's economic policies—with his relentless focus on Joe the Plumber and his suggestion that an Obama presidency could usher in an era of socialism—seems to have had some effect with working-class voters. In the poll, 39 percent of working-class and poor whites said they would list as a major concern the fear that Obama's tax plans could hurt small business. The McCain attacks seem to have had a larger impact with middle class and high-income voters, 48 percent of whom deem Obama's tax policies a major concern.

But in general, the poll suggests the McCain campaign has failed to negatively define Obama in the way that it might have wished.

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