PRINCETON, NJ — Barack Obama leads John McCain, 49% to 44%, when registered voters are asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, according to the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update.

These results, from Sept. 24-26, are almost entirely based on interviewing conducted before Friday night’s first presidential debate. This suggests Obama was moving into a slightly better positioning as the two met in Mississippi to debate foreign policy matters and the economic crisis. The five percentage point lead for Obama in today’s update is one of his best in recent weeks, just short of the six-point advantage he had in Sept. 17-19 polling. McCain had been running ahead of Obama since the Republican National Convention earlier this month, but as the financial crisis deepened Obama regained the lead positioning he had enjoyed through much of the summer. (To view the complete trend since March 7, 2008, click here.)

The initial impact of the debate — and perhaps more importantly, the political spin in the days after — on voter preferences will be apparent in the next few days of Gallup Poll Daily tracking, with Tuesday’s report the first for which all interviews will be conducted after the debate. — Jeff Jones

Source: Gallup Daily

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