Republican John McCain is tightening the presidential race against Democratic rival Barack Obama in four key states, according to polls released Thursday.
The four polls conducted by Quinnipiac University in partnership with the Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com show that McCain is running slightly ahead of Obama in Colorado, is close in Minnesota and has narrowed the gap in Michigan and Wisconsin.
In Colorado, McCain was ahead 46 percent to 44 percent. Obama led in Michigan, 46 percent to 42 percent; by 46 percent to 44 percent in Minnesota and by 50 percent to 39 percent in Wisconsin, according to the polls posted on the university Web site.
The polling data come in a week in which Obama has received heavy news coverage with a nine-day trip through war zones, the Mideast and Europe.
The issue that seems to have helped McCain in the polls was his support of offshore oil drilling. As gasoline prices have risen, other polls have shown that Americans are more likely to support offshore drilling, especially if they are in states where drilling isn’t likely.
Voters in the four states support offshore drilling by margins of 22 to 31 percentage points. The polls also show that the voters in the four states would support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by 7 to 12 percentage points.
Energy policy ranked as the most important issue, eclipsing the war in Iraq.
“Sen. Barack Obama’s post-primary bubble hasn’t burst, but it is leaking a bit,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, stated on the Web site. “It’s been a good month for Sen. John McCain. His movement in these key states, not large except for Minnesota, jibes with the tightening we are seeing in the national polls.”