Politics

Gallup Daily: Presidential Contest Remains a Dead Heat

McCain 47%, Obama 46%

PRINCETON, NJ -- The Sept. 13-15 Gallup Poll Daily tracking update shows John McCain (47%) and Barack Obama (46%) locked in a close contest when registered voters are asked for whom they would vote if the election were held today.

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The race has been in a statistical dead heat for the last five days, after McCain's lead grew to as large as five percentage points following the Republican National Convention. In essence, the race is back where it was before the flurry of political activity that began Aug. 25 with the Democratic National Convention and continued through the Republican convention, which concluded on Sept. 4. The candidates were dead even at 45% in Aug. 22-24 tracking, the last report of interviews conducted entirely before the beginning of the Democratic convention. (To view the complete trend since March 7, 2008, click here.)

It is unclear to what extent this week's headline news about the collapse of Wall Street financial institutions and changes in the stock market will affect the race. Obama has generally held the advantage when Americans are asked which candidate would better deal with the economy, though McCain was able to close the gap after the Republican convention. Monday night's interviewing did show Obama doing better than he has been in recent updates, but it will take several days to see if he can sustain an improved position. -- Jeff Jones

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(Click here to see how the race currently breaks down by demographic subgroup.)

Survey Methods

For the Gallup Poll Daily tracking survey, Gallup is interviewing no fewer than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day during 2008.

The general-election results are based on combined data from Sept. 13-15, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,800 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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