McCain, Obama tied in opinion polls

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are dead even in two public opinion polls released on Monday as they head into the final eight weeks of the race for the White House.

The polls were taken Friday through Sunday after last week’s Republican convention, which ended on Thursday. A CNN/Time poll showed the race deadlocked at 48 percent, and a Hotline/Diageo poll put the two candidates even at 44 percent.

The CNN/Time poll was largely unchanged from the previous week, when Obama led McCain by 49 percent to 48 percent. The Hotline poll showed a significant convention bounce for McCain, who trailed Obama by 9 percentage points in a poll taken the week before.

Another poll released on Sunday, by USA Today/Gallup, gave McCain a 4-point edge among registered voters and a 10-point lead among likely voters. That was a big boost for McCain, who trailed Obama by 3 points among likely voters in the week before the Democratic convention.

The Democrats met the week before the Republicans. Conventions typically give a presidential candidate a short-term bounce in the polls, but this year’s back-to-back conventions appeared to cut short the benefit for Obama.

The neck-and-neck polls put the race essentially back where it was heading into the conventions, although some polls showed McCain had boosted the enthusiasm level among his supporters with the choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as running mate.

The CNN/Time poll of 1,022 Americans was taken by Opinion Research Corporation and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. The Hotline/Diageo poll of 924 voters had a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Howard Goller