WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama leads Republican John McCain by 50 percent to 46 percent among likely voters in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, down from a 9-point edge a week earlier.
The new poll released on Tuesday was conducted Saturday through Monday, after the candidates met in their first debate on Friday.
Obama had led McCain by 52 percent to 43 percent in the poll’s previous survey released last week.
In the new poll, Obama, an Illinois senator, gained support among independents, closing a substantial gap with McCain who had been favored by crucial swing voters.
McCain, an Arizona senator, now leads Obama 48 percent to 45 percent among independents, the poll found. McCain was 10 points ahead of Obama among independent voters immediately after the Republican convention in early September.
ABC said McCain was laboring under the unpopular legacy of President George W. Bush, a fellow Republican.
Amid the U.S. financial crisis, a record 70 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush’s job performance, while only 26 percent approve, a new low for the Bush administration, the poll found.
The telephone poll of 1,070 registered voters and 916 likely voters had a 3-point margin of error.
Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Peter Cooney