by Mark Silva So much for the narrowing contest. NBC News and the Wall Street Journal tonight add to the other story line: A widening gap between Barack Obama and John McCain . Obama 52 percent, McCain 42 percent in the new NBC/Journal poll. "Notably, this shows Sen. Obama over 50 perrcent for the first itime in our polling,'' NBCs Brian Williams said on the Nightly News tonight. The poll mirrors a widening gap that the Pew Research Center reported today, a 14 point advantage for Obama, based on either registered or likely voters. The survey also echoed growing doubts about McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, with 55 percent of those surveyed by NBC and the Journal calling Palin not qualified, to serve as president if needed and just 40 percent callign her qualified. NBC reports that "Obama's current lead is also fueled by his strength among independent voters (topping McCain 49 to 37 percent), suburban voters (53 to 41), Catholics (50 to 44) and white women (49 to 45). "In early September, after the Republican National Convention, McCain was ahead with independents and Catholics, and narrowly trailed Obama among suburban voters.'' "To me, the voters have reached a comfort level with Barack Obama," says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the survey for NBC and the Journal with Republican pollster Neil Newhouse. "The doubts and question marks have been erased."