Washington, Oct 23 : Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has gained a nine-point lead over his opponent John McCain.
Less than two weeks before Election Day, Obama leads John McCain 49 percent to 40 percent among likely voters, according to a FOX News poll.
Obama's advantage comes mainly from independents, and from the fact that more voters identify themselves as Democrats these days and almost all of them back their party's nominee.
Eighty-eight percent of Democrats support Obama, and 83 percent of Republicans back McCain. Independents break 44 percent to 35 percent in Obama's favour.
In addition to independents, white Catholics are another important swing voting group and they support Obama 50 percent to 39 percent. White Catholics have voted for the winner in each of the last four presidential elections.
New voters -- people who have registered to vote in the last two years -- back Obama by 51 percent to 40 percent.
According to a FOX News poll released on October 10, Obama was leading McCain by seven points (46 percent to 39 percent) among registered voters.
Obama is seen as the candidate who will bring the right kind of change to Washington, and more voters trust him to handle the major economic problems facing the country right now. By a double-digit margin voters think Obama 's tax plan would do more to improve their family's financial situation.
McCain's clearest advantage is on experience: A large 80 percent majority says McCain has the right experience to be president. Some 52 percent say Obama has the right experience and 45 percent disagree.
In a question aimed at a gut level assessment of the character and judgment of each candidate, voters split when asked who they would go to for advice if they had to make the toughest decision of their life: Obama 45 percent and McCain 41 percent.