New York, Nov.4 : Republican presidential candidate John McCain has managed to narrow the electoral gap with Democratic rival Barack Obama in key battleground states, according to the latest Fox News/Rasmussen Reports poll.
But the overall results still leave Obama in a better position on the eve of the election.
Obama now leads in two of the battleground states while the candidates are tied or within a point of each other in four.
At one level, that's an improvement for McCain. Last week, he was even in just two states while trailing in four.
This week's results don't alter the underlying dynamic of the race.
All six of these battleground states were Republican states in 2004 and McCain probably needs to win all six to capture the White House.
Ohio is one of the two states where McCain gained ground this week and the candidates are now tied at 49 percent in Ohio.
In the last six FOX News/Rasmussen Reports Ohio polls, Obama and McCain have been within two points of each other five times. Neither man has reached the 50 percent level of support in any of the past six Ohio surveys.
McCain also gained ground in Florida this week. After trailing by four a week ago, the Republican hopeful now holds a one-point advantage, 50 percent to 49 percent.
This is the second time in three weeks that McCain has been up by a point in Florida. A month ago, Obama was up by seven in the state.
There was little overall change in the other four battleground states this week.
In Colorado, it is Obama 51 percent to McCain's 47 percent as both men added a point to last week's totals.
This is the fourth straight FOX News/Rasmussen Reports poll that shows Obama attracting 50 or 51 percent of the vote. The Democrat has been up by four to six points in each of these polls.
In Missouri, the candidates are tied at 49 percent. Last week, Obama was up by a point but neither man has reached the 50 percent level of support in the past three surveys.
In North Carolina, McCain is up by a point for the second week in a row and now leads 50 to 49 percent. This race has remained very close all year. In five surveys during the past month, each candidate has held a statistically insignificant lead twice and each man has reached the 50 percent mark once.
Finally, in Virginia, the overall results are unchanged with Obama leading 51 percent to 47 percent. This is the fifth straight weekly poll to show Obama at 50 percent or 51 percent and enjoying a lead ranging from two to four points.
The stability of these results is consistent with national polling over the past month. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll has shown Obama with support from 50 to 52 percent of voters every single day for 39 consecutive days.
If McCain wins all six battleground states, Rasmussen Reports projections indicate that the Republican would have 255 Electoral College votes in his column.
To reach 270 -- the number needed for victory -- McCain would also need to win some other states currently too close to call or leaning in the other direction. Any such scenario would have to include a McCain victory in Indiana or Pennsylvania.
A number of other themes emerge from the data that are worth noting:- McCain gained ground among unaffiliated voters in five of the six states this week.
-- In Colorado, the unaffiliated vote was little changed.
-- Obama's level of support stayed even or ticked up a point this week in five of the six states. Florida was the sole exception.
-- This is consistent with national numbers showing that whatever tightening of the race has taken place over the past week has come from undecided voters breaking slightly in McCain's direction. There is little or no evidence of a decline in support nationally for Obama.