Obama has 5-point lead on McCain

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama has a steady 5-point national lead over Republican John McCain with six days left in the grueling race for the White House, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

Obama leads McCain by 49 percent to 44 percent among likely voters in the three-day national tracking poll, inching up from his 4-point advantage on Tuesday. The telephone poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

“The daily numbers were essentially unchanged from yesterday, with just a slight improvement for Obama,” pollster John Zogby said. “The race is frozen in place for now.”

The Illinois senator still holds a solid lead with several crucial blocs of swing voters -- he is ahead by 15 points among independents, 10 points among women, 8 points among Catholics and 5 points among voters above the age 65.

The race is essentially tied among men and McCain moved into a slight 2-point lead among self-described blue-collar workers as the two candidates push toward next week’s vote.

“Obama is holding steady,” Zogby said.

Obama has held a lead of between two and 12 points every day since the tracking poll began three weeks ago. McCain, an Arizona senator, has not been able to push his support above 45 percent in that time, while Obama reached a high mark of 52 percent a week ago before drifting back.

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About two percent of voters remain undecided in the race, which still has time for some last-minute shifts.


The 5-point margin for Obama is the same lead then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush held in the tracking poll over Democrat Al Gore with six days left in the 2000 race. Gore closed fast and narrowly won the popular vote, but Bush won the Electoral College and the presidency after a disputed Florida recount.

With six days to go in the 2004 race, Bush led Democratic challenger John Kerry by one point before winning re-election by 3


McCain and Obama campaigned in Pennsylvania on Tuesday as they turn their attention to about a dozen battleground states that will decide the race. All except Pennsylvania are states won by Bush in 2004.

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Independent Ralph Nader received 2 percent in the national survey, and Libertarian Bob Barr was at 1 percent.

The rolling tracking poll, taken Sunday through Tuesday, surveyed 1,179 likely voters in the presidential election. In a tracking poll, the most recent day’s results are added, while the oldest day’s results are dropped to monitor changing momentum.

The U.S. president is determined by who wins the Electoral College, which has 538 members apportioned by population in each state and the District of Columbia. Electoral votes are allotted on a winner-take-all basis in all but two states, which divide them by congressional district.

Editing by Chris Wilson