While they both intensify campaingning in the last three days before Tuesday’s election, John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, and Barack Obama, his Democratic rival, have continued to clash over the economy.
On Saturday, as he was campaigning in the states of Virginia and Pennsylvania, Mr McCain told a crowd in Virginia that Obama was “running for redistributor in chief, I’m running for commander in chief”.
On the same day, campaigning in Nevada, Missouri and Colorado, Mr Obama said in a radio address that if he is elected, “we won’t just win this election together, we will change this country and change the world”.
While he made his comments, the latest poll by Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby came, indicating that the senator of Illinois’s lead had narrowed slightly to 49.1 per cent compared to McCain’s 44.1 per cent.
Previously Obama’s lead had been at 50.1 per cent to McCain’s 43.1 per cent, with both sets of results having a three percentage point margin of error.
During a speech in Virginia, another attack on Mr Obama’s national security credentials has been launched by Mr McCain who said : “The question is whether this is a man who has what it takes to protect America from Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and other grave threats in the world.”
“And he has given you no reason to answer in the affirmative.”
Focusing on key states
But despite his lead in the polls, the Democratic candidate said that there was still work to be done to win the race for the White House.
“Don’t believe for a second that this election is over”, said Mr Obama in the western battleground state of Nevada.
As time is running out before polls open on November 4, candidates are focusing on winning over undecided voters and encouraging supporters to get to the polls, particularly in key states.
Mr Obama was targetting traditionally Republican states in the hope of taking some key electoral college votes in areas that are not traditional swing states, like Ohio and Florida, said Rob Reynolds, Al Jazeera’s senior Washington correspondent, in Colorado.
Reporting from Springfield, Virginia, Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan said the state is a must win for Mr McCain and one he should not even be fighting in, as it has not voted Democratic since the 1960s. Yet the latest polls put him at 6.5 per cent behing Mr Obama there.
“If you read the polls closely, you do see a point movement into positive territory for McCain”, said Ms Jordan.
“But the crowds are not what they are for Obama and if you take a look at early voting, it seems more Democrats are going to vote [nationally].”
But on Saturday, the Associated Press reported that after her request for asylum from Kenya was rejected, Mr Obama’s aunt has been living in the US illegaly for the past four years.
The AP quoted a statement from Obama’s campaign as saying that Mr Obama had “no knowledge” of Zeituni Onyango’s status but that he “obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws should be followed”.
The Democratic candidate’s campaign also indicated that it had returned $265 in donations from Onyango.
The revelation “could become something of an embarassment to the Democratic candidate because it could amplify or accentuate in the minds of some people this notion that…Obama is not truly American”, said Rob Reynolds.
Analysts are also predicting the highest voter turnout in 2008’s election in decades.
64 per cent of eligible voters will cast ballots, compared to 2004’s 60.1 per cent, Michael McDonald of George Mason University told the Associated Press news agency.
In the US political system the president is not elected directly by the people. In a state-by-state contest, he has to capture 270 out of 538 electoral votes distributed throughout the country.