Voters favor Obama's economic policy - poll

Democratic presidential candidate holds slight edge over GOP rival McCain on key election issue.

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by Beth Braverman, contributing writer

Poll finds voters think Obama would better handle the economy.
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NEW YORK ( -- Barack Obama has a slight edge over presidential rival John McCain on the economy, according to a poll of registered voters released Thursday.

The CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows that 50% of voters polled believe Obama will better handle the economy, while 44% favor McCain's economic policies.

The poll reflects telephone interviews with 921 registered voters June 4-5. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Obama's slight lead in the poll reflect his edge in general polls, as well as his perceived strength on domestic issues versus McCain's perceived strength in foreign policy, said Andrew Taylor, chairman of the political science department at North Carolina State University.

"We have a Republican administration, and there are people who blame the administration for the current economic situation," Taylor said. "They think the Democrats would be better for the economy right now."

As the economy continues to sputter, it has become a central issue in the November presidential election.

""The media is increasingly focusing on the economy and indicators that we are in or on the verge of a recession," Taylor said. "The economy moves slowly and it's unlikely we will have a massive change in the economy before November, which is only five months away."

A major change in world affairs or in U.S. foreign policy between now and the election could diminish the importance of the economy, Taylor added

Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has promised to cut taxes for the middle and low-income families and increase them for those making more than $250,000 per year. He would use increased payroll taxes on high-income workers to help augment Social Security. He also wants to establish health insurance mandates for companies and individuals.

McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has said he would lower taxes for all taxpayers and reduce the corporate tax rate. He supports individual investment accounts to shore up Social Security. The Arizona senator wants to lower the cost of health care by increasing competition and allowing individuals to buy insurance across state lines.

McCain wants to ease high gas prices by suspending the federal gas tax, while Obama has said he would tax oil companies and use the money to help low-income individuals.

The candidates also differ on how to lessen the federal deficit. Obama favors cutting earmarks to their 2001 levels and requiring lawmakers to make budget cuts in order to pass new spending. McCain has called for the elimination of earmarks and a one-year freeze in discretionary spending. To top of page

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