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McCain, Obama deadlocked in presidential race

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: New CNN poll shows race tied; poll of polls shows McCain ahead
  • Barack Obama in Michigan, Joe Biden in Wisconsin then Iowa
  • John McCain, Sarah Palin campaign together in Missouri
  • Biden says Palin eventually has to "answer questions and not be sequestered"
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From Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A new national poll taken entirely after the end of the Republican convention suggests the race for the White House between John McCain and Barack Obama is dead even.

McCain and Obama are tied at 48 percent each, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out Monday afternoon.

Three percent of voters are undecided in the survey, which was conducted Friday through Sunday.

"The candidates were tied in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll before the Democratic convention, after the Democratic convention, and they are tied now," said CNN polling director Keating Holland.

The poll was based on 1,022 telephone interviews. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll is one of three new surveys taken mostly over the weekend. The other two are a Gallup Tracking Poll and a Diageo/Hotline survey.

When all three are averaged together for a new CNN poll of polls, the results have McCain up one point, 47 percent to 46 percent. That's the first time in a CNN poll of polls that McCain has an advantage over Obama.

The battle for the presidency also includes some minor-party candidates, including independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney -- but the poll suggests they don't have any impact on the shape of the race.

When they are added to the equation, the race between McCain and Obama remains tied, at 45 percent each, with Nader and Barr at three percent each and McKinney at one percent.

Has the Republican convention and the naming of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate given McCain a bounce in the polls?

"Other polls are showing 'convention bounces' for McCain, but ours does not,' Holland said. "The reason is probably due to the fact that the CNN poll has had a very low number of respondents who say they are undecided for several months. Bounces tend to occur when undecided voters switch to a candidate, but with so few truly undecided voters in our polls, there was little room for a bounce for Obama or McCain."

But the poll does suggest that adding Palin to the Republican ticket has energized the GOP. Before the Republican convention, 49 percent of registered Republicans were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year. That number is now up to 60 percent.

Holland also pointed out that despite a concerted outreach by the McCain-Palin team to former women supporters of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, women nationwide seem to be sticking with Obama -- 52 percent of women are planning to vote Democratic, while 45 percent are backing McCain. The poll indicates that 51 percent of men are in the GOP column, with 44 percent supporting Obama.

With the race for the White House so close, the presidential contenders and their running mates kicked off the first week of post-convention campaigning in battleground states.

On the Democratic side, Obama started the week in Michigan, a toss-up state with 17 electoral votes. Video Watch more on Obama's battleground push »

The senator from Illinois was to focus on the economy at a stop in Flint before heading to a town hall meeting in Farmington Hills.

Running mate Joe Biden was in Green Bay, Wisconsin, a state that's leaning toward Obama, according to CNN's electoral map. Video Watch more on Biden's plans »

After holding a town hall meeting, he was expected to head to a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, another state leaning toward Obama.

Former rival Clinton hit the trail for Obama on Monday, focusing on the economy as she campaigned in the toss-up state of Florida.

Obama was scheduled to meet with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a private lunch Thursday.

On the Republican side, McCain kept his headline-grabbing running mate with him on the trail as he campaigned in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Video Watch more on the Republicans' plans for the West »

Missouri is a battleground state with 11 electoral votes at stake.

Palin was supposed to be campaigning on her own, but citing momentum, the McCain campaign decided to keep her with him for the beginning of the week.

With Palin by his side, McCain has been seeing big crowds and newfound energy at his recent campaign events. iReport.com: Are you still undecided? Tell us why

The pair will campaign together in Ohio and Pennsylvania later this week. The Alaska governor will return home to speak Thursday at a deployment ceremony for her son's unit, which is headed to Iraq.

In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Biden called his Republican counterpart a "tough politician" but pointed out that she hasn't sat down with reporters yet.

"Look, she's a smart, tough politician, and so I think she's going to be very formidable. But, you know, eventually she's going to have to sit in front of you like I'm doing and have done," he said. "Eventually, she's going to have to answer questions and not be sequestered. Eventually, she's going to have to answer questions about her record."

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis on Sunday brushed off accusations that Palin is "scared" to answer questions from the media.

"I don't think our campaign is the campaign that has not given immense amount of access to the press. That's the Obama campaign," he told Fox News on Sunday.

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"She's not scared to answer questions. But you know what? We run our campaign, not the news media. And we'll do things on our timetable," he said.

Palin has agreed to her first national television interview since joining the Republican ticket. According to a campaign aide, Charles Gibson of ABC News will interview Palin in Alaska on Thursday and Friday.

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