The nine-point spread marks an increase of four percentage points in Obama's lead from a CBS News/New York Times survey taken last week. Obama also leads by nine points among likely voters, 50 percent to 41 percent. About 1 in 4 voters remains uncommitted to either candidate - they are either undecided or favor one candidate but say they could change their mind. While no single factor can account for Obama's increased lead, both the financial crisis and the first presidential debate may have benefited the Democratic presidential nominee.
Neither candidate wins majority approval for their role in handling the financial crisis. But 44 percent of registered voters approve of Obama's handling of the financial crisis, nine points higher than McCain. Forty-six percent of those surveyed, meanwhile, disapprove of McCain's handling of the crisis, compared to 32 percent for Obama.
Obama also continues to lead in voter confidence in handling the economy. Half of the registered voters surveyed say they are not at all or not too confident in McCain's ability to steer the economy, 11 percentage points more than say the same of Obama.
The Democratic nominee is also widely seen as having won the debate. Forty-one percent of registered voters, including more than half of those who watched it, said Obama came out on top; just 21 percent said McCain was the winner.
Most voters said the debate did not change their opinion of the candidates, but Obama fared better amongst those who did.
Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed said their opinion of Obama changed for the better, more than twice the percentage who said the same of McCain. While 17 percent said their opinion of McCain got worse, meanwhile, just 6 percent said as much of his rival.
This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,257 adults nationwide, including 1,113 registered voters, interviewed by telephone September 27-30, 2008. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones.