Poll: Obama clobbering McCain among early voters, tied with rest

Barack Obama holds a commanding lead among Colorado voters who have already cast their ballots but is in a dead heat with John McCain counting voters who plan to vote on Election Day, a Marist Poll released Thursday found. The Democrat leads 59 percent to 41 percent among early voters, enough to total a 51 percent to 45 percent advantage among likely registered voters.

The poll shows 44 percent of registered Colorado voters have already voted, which is slightly higher than the 42.9 percent of active voters tallied as of Wednesday by the Colorado secretary of state. Voters have through Friday to cast ballots at early-voting locations across the state and can return mail ballots through 7 p.m. Tuesday.

McCain and Obama are tied, however, with 46 percent apiece among likely voters who haven’t yet voted, the Marist Poll found. Both candidates have massive efforts planned to get their supporters to the polls on Election Day.

Republicans support McCain and Democrats support Obama at roughly equal levels — 92 percent and 96 percent, respectively — but unaffiliated voters break for Obama by a wide margin, 58 percent to 35 percent. Both candidates can count on strong commitment from their backers, with 88 percent of Obama voters saying they “strongly support” him and 80 percent of McCain voters saying the same.

The poll’s measure of an overall 6-point lead for Obama is within range of other Colorado surveys released this week. A National Journal poll released Thursday put Obama ahead 48 percent to McCain’s 44 percent, while a CNN battleground state poll released Tuesday had Obama with 53 percent and McCain with 45 percent.

The Marist Poll was conducted among registered voters by telephone among 772 registered voters in Colorado on Monday and Tuesday. The sample was weighted to reflect party registration and turnout by county, and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

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Ernest Luning

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