McCain Ahead of Obama in Texas; 23 Percent Believe Obama is Muslim, Poll Shows

John McCain leads Barack Obama by a 51 to 40 percent margin among registered voters in Texas, with 8 percent still undecided, according to a statewide poll conducted by the Texas Politics Project and Department of Government at The University of Texas at Austin. The poll surveyed 550 registered voters in Texas Oct. 15-22, and had a margin of error of 4.2 percent.

When asked to identify Obama's religion, 45 percent of respondents accurately identified him as Protestant, however 23 percent erroneously identified him as Muslim.

"Republican candidates continue to hold an advantage in Texas, but our results show that the electorate is unsettled by the economic situation and disapproval of existing political leadership," Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, said. "With only five days to go before the election, there are still pockets of undecided voters in the state, especially in the U.S. Senate race."

In the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent John Cornyn and Democratic challenger Rick Noreiga, Cornyn led among respondents 45 to 36 percent. Fourteen percent of respondents said they were undecided.

Texans also reflected the downward economic assessment seen in national polls with 89 percent responding that the country was worse off, and 53 percent responding "a lot worse off," compared to a year ago.

President Bush's approval rate in his home state is better than the historically low ratings he has received nationally with 34 percent of Texans approving how Bush is handling his job as president. Congress is faring worse with only 8 percent of Texans expressing approval of how Congress is handling the economic crisis.

Texans also responded to questions about media fairness. When asked how fair or unfair the news media has been to Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during the campaign, 38.1 percent responded that the media has been "extremely unfair."

Learn more about the findings from the statewide poll at the Texas Politics Project.