A cross section of support that, if it continues for Obama through Election Day, would exceed that of Bill Clinton in 1992, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News polls. Underscoring his increasing strength in the final phase of the campaign, Obama led his rival John McCain among groups that voted for President Bush four years ago: Those with incomes greater than 50,000 dollar a year; married women; suburbanites and white Catholics. He is also competitive among White men, a group that has not voted for a Democrat over a Republican since 1972, when pollsters began surveying people after they voted.
Of potential concern for Obama's strategists, however, a third of voters surveyed say they know someone who does not support Obama because he is Black. Voters were also closely divided about Obama's ability to handle a crisis, a finding that came as Republicans seized on remarks by his running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, that foreign leaders were likely to test him in the first months of his term if he is elected.
Over all, however, the poll found that Obama would defeat McCain if the election were held now, with 52 percent of those identified as probable voters saying they would vote for Obama and 39 percent saying they would vote for McCain.
Among registered voters in the latest poll, the spread is almost identical, with 51 percent saying they would vote for Obama and 38 percent saying they would vote for McCain. A New York Times/CBS News poll taken a week ago showed a similar margin of victory for Obama.
The latest nationwide telephone poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday with 1,152 adults, of whom 1,046 said they were registered to vote. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
Despite McCain's continued questioning of Obama's readiness, the number of voters surveyed who say Obama has prepared himself well enough for the presidency was at its highest yet in the newest poll, 56 percent.