Further evidence that Mitt Romney is biting at the heels of President Barack Obama in the race for the White House came on Wednesday when a New York Times/CBS News poll put the two level.
Like every other poll since Rick Santorum dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination last week, the survey showed a tightening of the contest.
It put Romney and Obama even at 46 percent support each among registered voters, the Times said in a preview of the full result. Further details will be released on Wednesday evening.
The last time the two news organizations asked voters which of the two men they would vote for, the president had a three percentage point lead, 47 to 44.
While the poll is good news for the Romney camp, it did point to weakness in his support among conservative factors of his own party. Only 54 percent of GOP primary voters said they would like to see him as their candidate, despite him being virtually assured of the nomination. Twenty percent said they would still prefer Newt Gingrich, with 12 percent opting for Ron Paul.
And only one in three Republicans said they would "enthusiastically support" Romney in the general election. "That's hardly a resounding endorsement from the party faithful," the Times commented.
A further 40 percent said they would support him with reservations, 18 percent said they will support him only because he is the GOP nominee and 8 percent of Republicans said they will not support him.
The Times said evangelical Christians are "far more likely than others to say they have reservations about him." The nationwide poll of 852 registered voters was conducted between Friday and Tuesday.
Since the start of this week, polls by Pew Research, CNN and Reuters all showed Romney had narrowed the gap into single figures, while daily tracking polls from Gallup and Rasmussen Reports have Romney ahead.
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