New York, Sept.18 : Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has retaken a lead over Republican rival John McCain, according to the latest CBS/NYT poll.
The poll indicates Obama as having taken a 48 percent to 43 percent lead over McCain among registered voters.
McCain had a two percentage point lead among registered voters in a CBS News poll released on September 8th, just after the Republican National Convention. Prior to the party conventions, Obama led McCain by three points.
In the new poll, the gap among likely voters is the same as it is among registered voters. Obama leads among those seen as likely to go to the polls in November 49 percent to 44 percent.
The poll says that this race remains up for grabs. One-fourth of the electorate is now uncommitted, meaning they say they could still change their minds about their candidate or remain undecided entirely.
Roughly twenty percent of both McCain and Obama supporters say they have not yet settled definitively on their chosen candidate.
Though McCain's supporters have become more enthusiastic about the Republican nominee, he still suffers from an enthusiasm gap.
Sixty-one percent of Obama supporters are enthusiastic about their candidate, up eight points from last week's poll; forty-seven percent say the same of McCain, up five points from last week.
Obama's advantage can be traced in part to independents, who favored Obama in late August, swung to McCain just after the Republican convention, and have now returned to Obama. Obama now leads McCain among independents 46 percent to 41 percent.
Obama also leads McCain among women, a group that favored McCain by five points in polling taken just after the Republican convention, where Alaska Governor Sarah Palin became the second woman ever to be nominated to a major party ticket.
Obama leads McCain 54 percent to 38 percent among all women. He holds a two point edge among white women, a 21 percentage point swing in Obama's direction from one week ago.
While Palin remains popular among McCain voters, the poll suggests that the McCain campaign may have cause for concern.
More than half of registered voters do not think Palin is prepared for the job of Vice President, and even McCain supporters cite "inexperience" as what they like least about her.
Just 17 percent of registered voters say McCain chose Palin because she is well qualified for the job of Vice President. Seventy-five percent say McCain made the choice to help win the election.
Fifty seven percent of registered voters say Obama chose Biden because he is well qualified. Thirty-one percent say the choice was to help with the election.
Nonetheless, McCain supporters are far more enthusiastic about Palin than Obama supporters are about Biden.
Palin's favorable rating stands at 40 percent, down 4 points from last week. Her unfavorable rating, which stands at 30 percent, has risen eight points in the same time period. Her favorable rating among women has fallen 11 points in the past week. Biden is viewed favorably by 38 percent of registered voters. Seventeen percent view the Delaware senator unfavorably, a decrease of 5 points from last week.
Nearly 3 in 4 voters say Biden is prepared to be vice president; just 42 percent say Palin is prepared for the job, down 5 points from last week. But Palin is seen as the more relatable of the two: 55 percent of registered voters say she is someone they can relate to, while 43 percent say the same of Biden.
Voters who supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries are not fully embracing the new woman in the race. Forty-eight percent of Clinton voters say they have an unfavorable view of Palin, while 20 percent view her positively.
Still, one in four registered voters who were Clinton supporters in the primary say they plan to support the McCain-Palin ticket in November.
While both Obama and McCain are now vying for the mantle of change agent in this election, Obama is seen by a far higher percentage of voters as likely to bring real change to Washington if elected President.
Sixty-five percent of registered voters say Obama would bring real change, while just 37 percent say the same of McCain. Nearly 60 percent of voters say McCain would not bring change.
The differing views of the two candidates are driven largely by the differing views held by independent voters.
Forty-seven percent of registered voters say Obama is a different type of Democrat; roughly the same percentage say he is typical. McCain, a self-proclaimed maverick, is seen as a different type of Republican by a smaller percentage, 40 percent. Fifty-seven percent of registered voters cast McCain as a typical Republican.
The two candidates retain the strengths and weaknesses each has held for some time: McCain is viewed as better prepared and a more effective commander in chief, while more voters relate to Obama and feel he understands them.
Voters' opinions of the candidates have changed little since last week, and both hold similar favorable/unfavorable ratings. Obama's favorable stands at 45 percent and his unfavorable at 35 percent; McCain's favorable is 44 percent and his unfavorable 37 percent.
Each candidate's age seems to work for him rather than against him. Fifty-eight percent of registered voters say Obama's relative youth helps him have fresh ideas; 24 percent say it makes him too inexperienced. Fifty-four percent say McCain's age makes him experienced, while 31 percent say it makes the job too difficult.
Only 22 percent of Americans say the condition of the national economy is even somewhat good, and six in 10 think the economy is getting worse, not better.
Eight in ten Americans think America is on the wrong track.
A record 68 percent disapprove of the president's performance, the highest disapproval rating of any president recorded since Gallup began asking the question in 1938.
Nearly six in 10 Americans think the next president should try to end the war in Iraq within the next year or two, while about 4 in 10 think he should continue fighting in Iraq as long as he feels it is necessary.