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In the polls, Barack Obama has quite a streak going

November 3, 2008 | 11:02 am

How much of a cataclysmic upset to the world of polling would a John McCain victory over Barack Obama on Tuesday represent?

Here's a statistic from NBC political director Domenico Montanaro that puts it in perspective: "Obama has now led in 111 straight national polls with methodologies we trust... ."

Also today, Montanaro's hard-working colleagues who crank out MSNBC's "First Read" political note break down the final NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll, looking behind the numbers that give Obama an 8 percentage point lead (51% to 43%). Here are the specifics that leapt out to us:

Obama’s advantage is largely based on his overwhelming success with African Americans (winning them 90%-3%), Latinos (68%-27%), and 18 to 34 year olds (59%-38%). It's about as solid of a three-legged support stool as any candidate could ask for.

The poll also shows that McCain and Obama are pretty well liked by voters. ... But what’s striking is the intensity gap -- almost twice as many respondents (44%) rate Obama “very positive” than they do for McCain (24%). In short, McCain’s supporters like him, but Obama’s LOVE him.

In addition to finding Obama likeable, voters are becoming more and more comfortable with him and the idea of him becoming president.

Over the course of this general election, NBC/WSJ co-pollsters Peter Hart (D) and Neil Newhouse (R) have identified one key question in the poll for Obama: Do you identify with his background and values? And Obama has always trailed McCain on this score. Until now. In our new poll, an identical 57% say they identify with the candidates’ background and values.

-- Don Frederick

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