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McCain, Obama tied in latest poll

WASHINGTON — John McCain and Barack Obama remained neck and neck seven weeks before Election Day, but there's been some softening of the support for McCain and his running mate, a new Ipsos/McClatchy poll has found.

The national survey found registered voters split evenly, with 45 percent supporting McCain, the Republican, and 45 percent supporting Obama, the Democrat. Two percent supported independent candidate Ralph Nader, 1 percent supported Libertarian Bob Barr, 5 percent supported none of those choices and 2 percent said they didn't know whom they supported.

The latest survey of 1,046 registered voters was taken nationwide from last Thursday through Monday. Its margin of error was plus or minus 3.0 percentage points.

The result was similar to that of the week before, when 46 percent supported McCain and 45 percent supported Obama.

In the subsequent week, McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, dominated news of the presidential race as financial markets faced new turmoil.

"It seems like McCain is holding the ground he gained with his convention bump," said Clifford Young, a senior vice president at Ipsos, a public affairs firm. "We're not seeing any fast deterioration."

While there was no significant change in the number of voters who said they supported either ticket, the poll did suggest some easing of the commitment to McCain-Palin.

Among those supporting McCain and Palin, 71 percent said they would definitely vote for the ticket, down from 77 percent the week before. The slice of those who said they'd probably vote for McCain-Palin rose from 10 percent to 13 percent, and the total of those who said they could change their minds rose from 10 percent to 12 percent.

"It does suggest a slight wavering on the McCain-Palin side," Young said. "There are underlying signs that the convention bump may have a time stamp on it."