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Poll: Obama leads by 17 points in Wisconsin

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Obama in La Crosse
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to a crowd in La Crosse, Wis.
MPR Photo/Sea Stachura

Sen. Barack Obama's commanding 17-point lead in Wisconsin over John McCain shown in a new independent poll released Tuesday is the largest he's ever enjoyed in the state.

      The Quinnipiac University poll also shows large leads for Obama in Minnesota, Colorado and Michigan with the election just three weeks away. One poll was done before last week's debate and another was done after.

      Post-debate Obama was up 9 points in Colorado, 16 points in Michigan, 11 points in Minnesota and 17 in Wisconsin.

McCain in La Crosse
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain speaking to about 5,000 people at a rally in La Crosse, Wis.
Mark Hirsch/Getty Images

      "Those margins may be insurmountable barring a reversal that has never been seen before in the modern era in which polling monitors public opinion throughout the campaign," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the university's polling institute. "Any realistic chance of McCain coming from behind depends on scoring a knockout in this week's last debate. But given that he has been judged by the electorate to have lost both of the previous face-offs, that would seem to be a very tall order."

      The final presidential debate is Wednesday.

      The findings come on the heels of another independent poll released last week that showed Obama ahead by 10 points in Wisconsin.

      Particularly troubling for McCain is that Obama leads 52 percent to 36 percent among Wisconsin's independent voters, who were expected to determine the outcome of the race in this hotly contested state. Obama also leads among white voters, men, women, blue collar voters, and Catholics.

      The flailing national economy is also benefiting Obama with 55 percent of those polled saying it is the biggest issue in the race. And a majority say Obama is better able to deal with it - 53 percent to 32 percent.

      "The only possible bright spot for Sen. McCain -- and you would need Mary Poppins to find it in these numbers -- is that he is holding roughly the same portion of the Republican vote," Brown said.

      The polls were conducted in partnership with The Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com. The pre-debate poll done between Oct. 3 and Oct. 7 of 1,081 randomly selected likely voters in Wisconsin had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The post-debate poll done between Oct. 8 and Oct. 12 of 1,201 likely voters had a 2.8 percentage point margin of error.       

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      (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)