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Poll: Early Voters Strongly Prefer Obama

With just three days left until Election Day, a new CBS News poll finds that the Democratic presidential ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden leads its Republican counterpart by 13 points among likely voters, 54 percent to 41 percent. That margin reflects an increase of two points in the Obama-Biden ticket's lead from a CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday.

About one in five voters say they have already cast their vote, either in person or through the mail, and these early voters prefer the Democratic ticket by an even greater margin. Obama leads among early voters 57 percent to 38 percent, a nineteen point advantage.

The economy is by far the issue of top concern to voters, and they continue to view Obama more favorably on the issue than they do his Republican rival, John McCain. Fifty-one percent of registered voters say Obama would make the economy better, while just 29 percent say McCain would.

On the question of who will raise taxes, the candidates are roughly even: Forty-seven percent say Obama would raise their taxes and 48 percent say McCain would do so.

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Early voters are slightly more concerned than voters who plan to cast their votes on Election Day that their vote won't be counted accurately. Forty-two percent of early voters are at least somewhat concerned about their vote not being counted, while 34 percent of voters overall say as much.

Nearly half of the early voters are Democrats, while 30 percent are Republican and 21 percent independent. They are slightly more likely to be African American or female than likely voters overall, but they do not differ much in other respects, including ideology, age, income, and level of education.

Early voters who also voted four years ago backed Democratic nominee John Kerry over President George W. Bush 45 percent to 40 percent in the 2004 presidential race.

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1120 adults nationwide, including 989 registered voters, interviewed by telephone October 28-31, 2008. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample and the sample of registered voters could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.
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