Obama stretches poll lead as Mickey Mouse enters fray

Barack Obama has opened a dramatic 14-point lead over John McCain in a new opinion poll, amid evidence that the McCain camp's character attacks are doing more to harm the Republican senator than his opponent.

A New York Times/CBS poll published yesterday shows that if the election was held now, 53 per cent of voters surveyed would vote for Obama compared to 39 per cent for McCain.

The poll also found that Republican attempts to smear Mr Obama by association with William Ayers, a 1960s radical, have hurt Mr McCain more than his rival. Voters also said they were turned off voting Republican by the choice of Governor Sarah Palin as the vice-presidential running mate.

Six out of 10 voters criticised John McCain for spending more time denouncing his opponent than explaining how he intended to lead the US at a time of unprecedented economic turmoil. The poll showed that anxiety about the economy and deep mistrust of George Bush have created a hostile environment for Mr McCain's campaign. Faced with an avalanche of bad news, the McCain campaign is seeking to capitalise on a voter scandal, which they say is an attempt to rig the 2008 vote. Democrats have a long "vote early, vote often" legacy to live down and the latest scandal has played into the hands of conservatives.

Thousands of fraudulent voter registrations were allegedly collected by a charitable organisation, Acorn, which helps people register for elections. The lists include such names as Batman, Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys football team.

There are no known examples of illegalities in early voting, but Acorn has become a rallying call for Republicans who are preparing for legal challenges to the election. They have smeared Senator Obama by association, because like Acorn, he was once a community organiser. Sarah Palin used the Acorn scandal to raise funds from Republicans, saying in an email: "We can't allow leftist groups like Acorn to steal the election."

The organisation admitted about3 per cent of the 1.3 million new voters who were enrolled by its 13,000 canvassers may be fraudulent. A spokesman, Steve Kest, said some canvassers had cheated but that the organisation has strict internal controls. "The incidence of voters registering and voting under false names is minimal," he said.

Mr Obama has distanced his campaign from Acorn, saying that fears of voter fraud in the 4 November election are wide of the mark. Canvassers "just went to the phone book or made up names and submitted false registrations to get paid," he told reporters.

Republican commentators were quick to denounce the New York Times/CBS poll yesterday, describing it as a predictably skewed view from two of the country's most liberal news organisations. But another poll, by SurveyUSA in five states where early voting is under way, reveals that Senator Obama leads by an average of 23 points among early voters in Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina.

The five states went to George Bush by an average of 6.5 points in 2004.


Barack Obama's percentage point lead over John McCain (New York Times/CBS poll).

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Pistorius leaves Pretoria High Court to be taken to prison

Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'


Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Life and Style

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, MSSQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

English Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - So...

French Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: French Teacher ? Sou...

Geography Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Geography Teacher ? ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album