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US presidential race statistically tied: poll
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The presidential race between Democratic candidate Barack Obama and his rival Republican John McCain remained statistically tied, according to a poll published Tuesday.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed supported Obama while 43 percent chose McCain, according to the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll.

The poll showed that Obama's public image has eroded this summer amid a daily onslaught of attacks from McCain and his allies who have portrayed Obama in recent weeks as a naive celebrity who is unprepared to lead the nation in dangerous times.

Far more voters say McCain has the right experience to be president, while more than a third have questions about Obama's patriotism, the poll found.

The poll showed that 35 percent of the voters have questions about how patriotic Obama was; only 9 percent wondered how patriotic McCain was. Nearly half of the voters say Obama lacks the right experience to be president, while 14 percent feel that way about McCain.

According to the survey, 63 percent of the voters have confidence in Obama's ability to deal wisely with an international crisis, while 77 percent feel that way about McCain.

The survey also illustrated some of the campaign's racial undercurrents as Obama strives to become the first African American president.

Most voters said they knew at least some people who feel uneasy about electing a black president; 17 percent say the country is not ready to do so.

But as the economy ranked as the most important issue, more voters favored Obama, while McCain's supporters remained less enthusiastic, the poll showed. And independents, a crucial swinging bloc, were leaning toward Obama, with 47 percent favoring Obama and 36 percent supporting McCain.

Also, the Republican Party's dismal standing under US President George W. Bush remained a drag on McCain's candidacy: 75 percent of voters say the country is seriously on the wrong track.

The poll of 1,375 adults, including 1,248 registered voters, was conducted by telephone from Friday through Monday. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

In June, Obama was ahead by 12 points. Other polls at that time showed him with a narrower lead.

Obama's favorable rating has sunk to 48 percent from 59 percent since the last Times/Bloomberg poll in June. At the same time, his negative rating has risen to 35 percent from 27 percent.

By comparison, McCain's ratings have hardly budged during the same period: 46 percent of voters have a positive feeling about him; 38 percent give him negative ratings.

(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2008)

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