The first round of news polls released since the end of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions last week show Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain nearly even in popularity as they head into the election’s final months.
In the Washington Post poll, Obama narrowly leads McCain 47 to 46 percent among registered voters, but the poll’s margin of error leaves the two at a statistical tie.
While Obama held a strong advantage earlier this summer, leading McCain at 51 percent to 44 percent in a CNN poll in late July, McCain’s popularity rose as the conventions approached. Heading into the Democratic convention, which kicked off Aug. 25, the two were deadlocked at 47 percent.
While the overall contest remains about even in the latest polls, the surveys also revealed shifts in important voting blocs since the party conventions began.
The Post found a significant shift among white women moving to support McCain, the apparent impact of adding Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the ticket.
“White women shifted from an eight-point pre-convention edge for Obama to a 12-point McCain advantage now,” the Post reported.
A CBS News poll, which re-interviewed a group of voters who had been surveyed before the conventions, also noted sizeable pay-off from the Palin pick, reporting that nearly half of those surveyed said “they have a better opinion of the Alaska governor” as a result of her convention address, while “just 16 percent say the speech gave them a worse impression of her.”
Adding Palin to the ticket may have also increased the McCain-Palin team’s appeal as Washington reformers.
“While Obama maintains a sizable 12-point advantage as the one who would do more to change government, that is down from a 32-point lead on the question in June,” the Post reported.
The Democrats are still ahead of the Republicans on enthusiasm for the election, the CNN poll showed. Sixty percent of Republicans said they are enthusiastic about the election compared to 71 percent of Democrats.