Romney now level in polls despite weeks of bad news

Republicans will be hoping that the selection of a running mate will give him a further boost

After weeks of being blasted by Democrats over his wealth, his refusal to release more annual tax returns and related questions about overseas accounts, Mitt Romney was able to take some comfort yesterday from a series of polls showing him deadlocked with Barack Obama nationally in the presidential race or even very slightly ahead.

For the first time, a survey by CBS News and the New York Times has given the Republican nominee a numerical edge over President Obama. Even though it is within the margin of error, Mr Romney was seen garnering the support of 47 per cent of voters if the election were held now over 46 per cent for Mr Obama.

The numbers suggest that the recent attempts by the Obama campaign to knock Mr Romney off balance with attacks also focusing on his stewardship of Bain Capital have had limited effect.

Ominously for Mr Obama, the polls show that his overall job approval rating has slipped as has confidence in his handling of the economy.

Another poll from National Public Radio released yesterday gave Mr Obama a miniscule two-point, 47-to-45 per cent, lead over his challenger. However, it suggested that the two men are tied at 46 per cent each in the swing states that will end up deciding the election in December.

It is unclear what now might shake the race up, though obvious landmarks ahead include the July jobs numbers, the party conventions and the three televised debates they will have thereafter.

Republicans will also be hoping that the selection by Mr Romney of a running mate, which could come any day, will give him a boost.

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