Democrat Barack Obama leads Republican John McCain by 47%-41% in the 2008 race for the White House, according to the first NBC News/Wall Street Journal pollconducted after Mr. Obama wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination.
Mr. Obama's edge, outside the survey's 3.1 percentage point margin of error, suggests that the Illinois senator has made some political headway since emerging from his extended primary battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton. In April, as that battle continued, Mr. Obama led Mr. McCain by a narrower 46% to 43% margin.
The backdrop for his standing remains an auspicious political environment for Democrats. The Republican incumbent, President George W. Bush, incumbent Republican president, continued to be saddled with low approval ratings; 28% of registered voters approve his job performance, fewer than half the 66% who disapprove. Seven in 10 voters say the U.S. is headed "off on the wrong track" and "in a state of decline."
Yet Mr. Obama has not fully seized the broader desire for change reflected in the poll. By a 51% to 35% margin, voters say they prefer that a Democrat win the White House in November rather than a Republican--a much larger edge than Mr. Obama enjoys over Mr. McCain.