Democrat Barack Obama has widened his national lead over Republican rival John McCain, as more voters believe McCain would continue President Bush's policies, according to a new poll released this afternoon.
Obama leads McCain 53 percent to 45 percent among likely voters, compared to 51 percent to 47 percent two weeks ago, the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found. When minor-party candidates are included, Obama's lead grows to 53 percent to 42 percent. It is the latest national poll to show Obama breaking the crucial 50-percent barrier.
The survey also found that 54 percent of likely voters believe that McCain would mostly carry out Bush's policies, up from 52 percent two weeks ago.
UPDATE: An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this evening showed similar movement toward Obama, who leads 49 percent to 43 percent. That edge matches his biggest lead in this poll, and is up from a 48 percent to 46 percent lead two weeks ago.
The NBC survey found that voters gave Obama higher marks for his response to the financial crisis -- 34 percent said they felt more reassured by his actions, compared to 29 percent who felt less reassured. The opposite was true for McCain -- while only 25 percent were reassured by his actions, 38 percent felt less reassured.
The CNN poll also shows the unpopularity of the financial rescue package: 53 percent said they oppose the $700 billion bailout, and 76 percent said they oppose more government assistance if the bailout doesn't work. And 51 percent said they don't believe the bailout will prevent a deep and long recession.
The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday and has a margin of error among likely voters of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.