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New poll: McCain lead widens slightly in Florida

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A new poll shows Barack Obama trailing John McCain 47 percent to 43 percent in Florida, even as Obama spent millions in the state trying to introduce himself on local TV, while McCain has yet to spend a dime.

The statistical dead heat gives McCain a slightly stronger edge than he had in July, when a similar poll by Quinnipiac University showed he led by 46 to 44 percent. The university polled 1,069 likely Florida voters between Aug. 17 and Sunday. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percent.

But the poll at the onset of the Democratic National Convention shows Florida voters want a Democrat in the White House by a 44 to 39 percent margin and consider the economy the most important election issue.

On those issues, Floridians say they trust Obama 46 to 42 percent to handle the energy crisis and 46 to 44 percent to handle the economy. McCain has the edge among Florida voters, 45 to 42 percent, when it comes to handling a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina and 56 to 33 percent to handle a terrorist incident.

''McCain's lead in Florida is largely built upon his margin over Senator Obama among independent voters, the group that probably will decide the state's 27 electoral votes,'' said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

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