LAS VEGAS (AP) - Riding a wave of discontent with the Bush administration and the economy, Barack Obama has taken a decisive
lead in Nevada, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released
The survey showed 52 percent of likely voters in the state planned to vote or already have voted for Obama, compared with John McCain's 40 percent. Early voting began Oct. 18.
The poll suggests a dramatic surge for the Democratic presidential candidate in a state that has been considered a toss-up for much of the campaign. As the economy turned south, Obama has pulled slightly ahead in other statewide polls, but this is his widest margin yet.
Voters seemed to have turned against President Bush, who won Nevada in 2000 and 2004 with conservative promises of smaller government and lower taxes.
In the most recent polling, 69 percent disapproved of how Bush was handling his job with 56 percent of those voicing strong disapproval.
An overwhelming 84 percent of those surveyed said the country was headed in the wrong direction.
The survey also showed Obama has a clear edge on the economy in the state, where the two major industries - tourism and construction - have been battered.
Economic conditions in Nevada worried 87 percent of the poll respondents, while 71 percent expressed worry about their own
family's financial situation.
Across the board, most expressed more trust in Obama to improve the economy and handle the financial crisis. Some 57 percent of likely voters said Obama understands how the financial meltdown affects them compared with 37 percent for McCain.
"I'm 55 and I've never seen the United States in this bad of shape," said Debby Granik, an executive assistant from Las Vegas who voted for Obama last week. "We need change, we need change desperately."
The AP-GfK survey included landline phone interviews with 628 likely voters in Nevada. It was conducted from Oct. 22-26 and has a sampling margin of error of 4 percentage points.
The survey showed Obama with a more than 2-to-1 lead among Hispanics, a group that is expected to make up more than 10 percent
McCain was the preference of just a quarter of Hispanics in the survey, falling short of the 39 percent who helped President Bush carry the state in 2004, according to exit polling.
Nearly half said Hispanics have too little influence on politics.
Obama had a whopping 25-point advantage among women, 59 percent
to 34 percent. Men split more evenly, 48 percent for McCain to 43 percent for Obama.
McCain came closest to Obama among those polled in who they favored to make the right decisions about national security, but still trailed by 4 percentage points, 50-46 percent.
There was near even split between those who favored a timetable from bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and those who said conditions should dictate the decision.
Likely voters were about split on whether Obama had kept his promise to run a positive campaign, but 72 percent said McCain had not kept his word on avoiding negative campaigning.
Still, McCain's recent line of attack on Obama was resonating with some voters.
"I'm thinking Obama really is sending us down the path of socialism, with this redistribution wealth," said McCain supporter Tom Bromley, 54, of Gardnerville. "How is he going to do all he wants and not raise taxes?
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)