New York is on its way to becoming a battleground in this year's presidential election, with Senator McCain rapidly dissolving Senator Obama's lead in the Empire State, according to a new poll.
The poll by Siena Research Institute, conducted between September 8 and 10, found that Mr. Obama holds a 46% to 41% lead among likely voters, barely outside the survey's 3.9% margin of error. This represents a decline for Mr. Obama, who led by 8% in the same poll in August, 13% in July, and 18% in June.
According to the survey, New York voters favor Mr. Obama on most major issues, including the economy, health care, the Iraq war, and education, while Mr. McCain holds an edge on national security. Mr. McCain does better than Mr. Obama when voters are asked about attributes they look for in a president, scoring higher on questions regarding patriotism, experience, integrity, and leadership. The voters who were polled said they consider Mr. Obama more intelligent and compassionate than Mr. McCain.
Both candidates have largely ignored New York since the party primaries ended, focusing their energies on more traditional swing states. The McCain campaign's New York headquarters isn't even in New York — it's in New Jersey. The poll suggests that the climate could be right for one or both of the candidates to devote more resources to expanding their support in the state.
New York's reputation as a solid Democratic state in presidential elections, however, may lead some observers to declare the numbers a fluke until more surveys indicate otherwise.
Asked at an event at Barnard College about the poll numbers, Senator Clinton said she did not think Mr. McCain would win New York's 31 electoral votes in November.
"New York understands how desperately we need to change direction," she said.