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Russian analysts expect Obama to become U.S. president

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Russian analysts say Democratic candidate Barack Obama is likely to defeat Republican rival John McCain in the United States presidential election set for November 4.
MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russian analysts say Democratic candidate Barack Obama is likely to defeat Republican rival John McCain in the United States presidential election set for November 4.

The candidates held their third and final televised debate on Wednesday, just three weeks before the election.

The head of research at the Institute of Political and Military Studies, Alexander Khramchikhin, told RIA Novosti: "The fact that he won the televised debate is not so important, as the situation has long been in his favor. I do not see what could happen in the next three weeks to prevent him from winning."

According to a CNN phone-in poll, 58% of respondents said Illinois Senator Obama, 47, performed better in the debate, while 31% sided with the 72-year-old Arizona senator.

Leading Russian newspapers reporting on the debate, including Izvestia and the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta carried headlines saying Obama had emerged the clear winner, for the third time. In contrast, most headlines in the U.S. focused on McCain's aggressive debate tactics.

Alexander Konovalov, the head of the Institute for Strategic Studies, said Obama now has a strong chance of becoming America's next president.

Both analysts said the ongoing credit crisis has boosted the Democrats' chances of victory, as Americans appear unwilling to see another Republican in the White House.

"In the eyes of Americans, McCain answers for Bush... The financial crisis is therefore like a coup de grace for him," Khramchikhin said.

"The more severe the crisis becomes, the better the situation becomes for Obama and the worse for McCain," Konovalov said.

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