Washington, July 16 : Illinois Senator and presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama currently has an eight point lead over his Republican presidential rival John McCain.
According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, Obama leads McCain by 50 percent to 42 percent among registered voters nationwide.
He has acquired this edge from women and political independents, reports the Washington Post. Obama's 19-point lead on the economy has become a particularly steep challenge for McCain.
Economic concerns continue to eclipse other issues, with half the country saying the economy will be "extremely important" to their vote.
The Iraq war, which was again the subject of direct engagement between Obama and McCain yesterday, ranks third. A cluster of domestic issues, including education, health care and Social Security, ranked behind the war, as did the issue of terrorism.
Obama continues to hold an edge over McCain on many domestic policy areas.
The campaign is playing out against the backdrop of a leadership crisis in Washington, with Americans remaining in a generally sour mood about their representatives in the nation's capital.
In the new survey, President Bush's overall approval rating hit another record low in Post-ABC polling: Twenty-eight percent said they approve of the way he is handling his job, while 69 percent disapprove, including 56 percent who strongly disapprove.
Public impressions of Congress are even worse, with 23 percent giving the legislative branch a positive rating. That is the lowest public assessment of Congress since October 1994, just before Republicans seized control of both houses for the first time since 1954.
The overall political climate still bodes poorly for Republicans this fall, but the presidential race is relatively close, in part because of persistent doubts about both candidates.
The poll was conducted by telephone July 10 to 13 among a random national sample of 1,119 adults, including 971 registered voters.
The margin of sampling error for the full sample and for voters is plus or minus three percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.