A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll of registered voters Tuesday shows presidential contenders Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a virtual statistical tie.
The survey, conducted June 26-29, shows Obama holding a mere five-point lead over his rival, McCain, 50 percent to 45 percent.
The race for the White House, however, grows even tighter when the two most prominent third-party candidates are weighed into the equation.
When votes polled for Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr (3 percent) and Independent Party candidate Ralph Nader (6 percent) are added to the mix, Obama’s lead shrinks to just 3 percentage points (46 percent to 43 percent), which pollsters considered a virtual dead heat when taking into consideration margin of error.
A survey conducted by CNN just a month ago showed similar poll results. Obama, at that time, led McCain by the same scant 46 percent to 43 percent margin.
The latest CNN/ORC survey also shows some voters still have lingering questions about Obama's patriotism — about 25 percent.
The breakdown of those polled who show concern over Obama’s devotion to America is 10 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of independents, and 40 percent of Republicans.
"Strategically speaking, the question is not how many people consider Obama unpatriotic, it's how many people consider Obama unpatriotic who would have voted for him otherwise," CNN polling director Keating Holland points out.
"Most of the respondents who think Obama is unpatriotic are Republicans," Holland notes. "That indicates that Obama may not have lost a lot of votes — so far — on this matter."
McCain, on the other hand, registered 90 percent of all voters polled who view him as patriotic, mostly due to his past experience as a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war in Vietnam.
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