Poll: Obama, McCain about even in Missouri

ST. LOUIS | Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are running about even in Missouri's presidential contest. But Democrat Jay Nixon has widened his lead over Republican Kenny Hulshof in the gubernatorial race.

Obama had the support of 48 percent of those polled, compared to 47 percent of McCain.

The poll of 800 likely Missouri voters was conducted Oct. 20-23 by Maryland-based Research 2000 for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and television station KMOV. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

A majority of poll respondents said they trusted Obama more than McCain on the economy (52 percent to 43 percent). But most people said they trusted McCain more than Obama to handle the battle against terrorism (53 percent to 35 percent).

The poll also asked questions related to Barack Obama's race. Two-thirds of respondents said the country is ready to elect an African-American as president while 17 percent said it is not and 17 percent said they were not sure.

The gubernatorial poll showed Nixon, Missouri's current attorney general, ahead of Hulshof, Missouri's 9th District congressman, 55 percent to 41 percent. Last month, the same pollsters showed Nixon ahead of Hulshof, 51 percent to 42 percent.

In other statewide races, the poll showed:

— Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder leading in his re-election bid over Democratic state Rep. Sam Page, 49 percent to 40 percent.

— Democratic state Sen. Chris Koster slightly ahead of Republican state Sen. Michael Gibbons on the attorney general's race, 48 percent to 42 percent.

— Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan ahead in her re-election bid against Republican Mitchell Hubbard, 54 percent to 41 percent.

— Republican state Sen. Brad Lager and Democratic state Rep. Clint Zweifel in a close race for treasurer. Lager received the support of 46 percent of those polled and Zweifel 44 percent, a difference that is within the margin of error.

Of those polled, 79 percent said the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 19 percent who said it's headed in the right direction.