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Barack Obama thumping John McCain in several key states, new polls report

October 23, 2008 |  8:17 am

"Wow," Barack Obama said the other day as he gazed upon an estimated crowd of 100,000 in St. Louis waiting to hear him speak.

"Wow," The Ticket said to itself today after two polling groups released results for several of the most hotly contested states in the presidential race.

John McCain, as part of the feisty underdog role he has taken on, likes to zing Obama for "measuring the drapes" at the White House. If these new findings are even close to being right, Obama can start taking contracting bids for that basketball court he wants to install at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The jaw-dropping numbers come from the Big Ten Battleground Poll, which is supervised by two University of Wisconsin political science professors. The survey finds Obama ahead -- BY DOUBLE DIGITS -- in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota (as well as his home state of Illinois and Michigan, where McCain pulled up stakes a few weeks ago).

The error margin for the figures from each state is a relatively high plus-or-minus 4.2 percentage points. But even after subtracting Obama's numbers by that amount -- and increasing McCain's numbers by it -- the Democrat still runs ahead in every state. That includes Indiana, which no Democratic presidential candidate has carried since 1964.

Said Charles Franklin, one of the poll's directors: "In September, we saw virtually the entire Big Ten (region) as a battleground. Now Obama is clearly winning. ... The dominance of the economy as a top issue for voters is the overwhelming story.”

The polling institute for Quinnipiac University also shows Obama easily winning Ohio (by 14 points) and Pennsylvania (by 13 points).

One small bit of solace for McCain -- the Quinnipiac survey shows him down only 5 points in Florida; earlier this month, the group's polling found him trailing by 8 points.

Still, Peter Brown, the institute's assistant director, decided not to understate what the trends portend. "If these numbers hold up, (Obama) could win the biggest Democratic landslide since Lyndon Johnson in 1964," he said.

Might that be the final shock provided by this historic campaign?

-- Don Frederick

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