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McCain gains in Zogby poll as race continues to tighten

UTICA, New York - Republican John McCain continues to gain on Democrat Barack Obama, reducing Obama's lead to 5.3 points with just over a week to go before Election Day, the latest Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby national daily tracking poll shows.

The race now stands at 49.4% to 44.1% in favor of Obama. Obama led McCain by 9.5 points in yesterday's report.

"There is no question that this race continues to tighten and that McCain is finding his message again," said Pollster John Zogby. "It is after all about the economy and that is how McCain tightened it up the last time. I have said over and over again, when he focuses on extraneous issues, he screws up. In today's single day of polling, it was 49% to 46% in favor of Obama. McCain has moved his own numbers each of the three days and Obama has gone down from 54% to 50% to 49%. I have alluded before to this strange, magnetic pull that brings Obama down to 48% or 49%, a danger zone for him. McCain's gains are among white voters, where he now leads by 12 points, and with men, where he again has a healthy lead. There is still a lot of campaign to go. A lot of campaign to go."

The poll, a three-day rolling average survey of likely voters nationwide, shows that McCain has continued to gain ground among independent voters, though Obama still leads by a 50% to 36% margin, the telephone tracking survey shows.

Obama leads among women, 55% to 41%, while McCain now holds a four-point lead among men. Obama continues to lead among voters of all ages, though he leads by just six-tenths of a point among those age 30 to 49 and nine-tenths of a point among those age 55 to 69. Obama's lead has narrowed among Catholic voters to 17 points from a 25-point advantage in yesterday's report. McCain also now leads among Protestant voters who are not evangelical, as he maintains his strong advantage among evangelical voters, 62% to 33%.

Obama continues to win a significant 19% slice of the conservative vote, while McCain now wins only 4% of the support among liberal voters. Among moderates, Obama leads, 60% to 31%.

Since the beginning of the Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby daily tracking more than two-and-a-half weeks ago, Obama has gained 1.7 points, while McCain has lost 1.2 points.

The three-day rolling average telephone poll includes 1,203 likely voters nationwide, surveyed at the rate of about 400 interviews per 24-hour polling period (each polling period begins and ends at 5 p.m. daily) and was conducted Oct. 23-25, 2008. It carries a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Interviews were conducted using live telephone interviewers in Zogby's in-house call center in Upstate New York.