New York, Sept.30 : The latest FOX News/Rasmussen Reports indicate that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has increased his lead over Republican rival John McCain in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The candidates are within a single point of each other in three other battleground states -- Colorado, Florida and Ohio.
In Pennsylvania, Obama now leads by eight percentage points, 50 percent to 42 percent.
In Virginia, it's Obama 50 percent and McCain 47 percent.
In Colorado, it's Obama 49 percent and McCain 48 percent). In Florida, it's Obama 47 percent and McCain 47 percent and in Ohio; it's McCain 48 percent and Obama 47 percent.
National polls and other state polling conducted by Rasmussen Reports indicate Obama gained ground before last Friday night's debate, probably as a result of the economic turmoil that has dominated the news. Since the debate, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows little change in the national numbers.
A number of other themes emerge from the data that are worth noting:In all states, Obama gained ground among unaffiliated voters. While the sample sizes in each state are small and the shifts often modest, the consistency of the result is worth noting.
-Obama's favorable ratings are up slightly in all five states.
-Favorable ratings for McCain are up slightly in three states (Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania) and down slightly in two (Ohio and Virginia).
-The number saying they would not be comfortable with Obama as president fell in all five states. In all five, the number expressing such discomfort is at the lowest level since tracking began on September 7.
- The number not comfortable with McCain as president increased by 3 percentage points in Florida, was unchanged in Virginia, and fell very slightly in the other states.
-The number of undecided voters increased by 2 percentage points in Florida and Ohio.
-The number supporting third party candidates increased from two percent to five percent in Pennsylvania.
-Neither candidate attracts more than 50 percent of the vote in any of the battleground states, although Obama is right at the 50percent mark in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
-When it comes to who voters would trust with the toughest decision of their life, Obama gained ground in three states and there was no net change in Colorado or Pennsylvania. However, Obama had already gained ground on this question a week ago in Pennsylvania
The increasing numbers of undecided and third party votes in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida suggest opportunities for both candidates in the coming week. Given the overall trends, these voters may be having doubts about McCain but are not yet ready to vote for Obama.
Both nationally, and in the battleground states, it will be important to see if Obama can move above the 50 percent level of support in the coming week.
While the Vice Presidential debate is the biggest scheduled event of the week, it is important to remember the economic news had a bigger impact last week than the Presidential debate.
Rasmussen Reports conducted five state telephone surveys in partnership with Fox News Channel on September 28, 2008. The surveys were conducted in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
A total of 500 Likely Voters were interviewed in each state using the Rasmussen Reports automated telephone survey methodology. Click here for more from Rasmussen.com
The margin of sampling error for the full sample in each state poll is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.