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Two weeks until Election Day. Democrat Barack Obama leads Republican John McCain by 4-9 points in national polls.

What do you need to know?

First, ignore the national polls.

The campaign is being fought in several battleground states, most prominently North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Florida and Colorado. The race is tight in each.

We'll be updating you each day here on the latest and most significant of those polls.

Today's game plan

McCain's plan today and the next 12? Come as close as he can to calling Barack Obama a socialist without actually using the word. McCain hammered Obama's tax plan Monday, saying it places an unfair burden on the wealthy.

Obama's counter? In Florida, he again told voters that McCain's tax plan will help the wealthy most – and that McCain once called similar tax cuts under George Bush “irresponsible” because they came at the expense of “middle class Americans.”

Poll of the day

State

North Carolina

Pollster

Public Policy Polling (Raleigh)

Numbers

President: Barack Obama 51, John McCain 44;

U.S. Senate: Kay Hagan (D) 49, Elizabeth Dole (R) 42.

Details

1,200 likely voters; margin of error, +/- 2.8 percentage points.

What it means

The lead is Obama's largest in any N.C. phone survey. Another Monday poll, from Rasmussen, had Obama ahead by three after a tie one week ago. An Obama victory in N.C. would present a significant obstacle to McCain on Nov. 4.

Powell's endorsement: Online readers say…

This late in the campaign – I do not believe that General Powell's endorsement will have an impact on the electorate. Waiting until it appears that Obama is going to win, Powell looks like he is jumping in to obtain a share of the spoils. Most observers will simply chalk it off to skin color trumping party affiliation.

Matt M

It's a big positive because Powell is considered to be a straight shooter with more foreign policy & national defense experience than any other public figure. He also RARELY ‘plays politics' so his endorsement of Obama will be taken with more than just a grain of salt.

Anonymous

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