WASHINGTON - Surging Republican John McCain has narrowed the White House race to a statistical dead-heat, halving Barack Obama's opinion poll leads as the Democrat gears up for his nominating convention next week.
A CBS-New York Times poll found McCain had punched deep into Obama's advantage in just two weeks, while an NBC-Wall Street Journal survey confirmed the finding, revealing the Illinois senator's lead had "nearly disappeared".
The latest national figures came with the US media fixated over the looming vice-presidential picks of each candidate and ahead of an intense two-anda-half month sprint towards polling day in November.
Obama's camp, sensing McCain's momentum, on Wednesday branded the Vietnam war veteran as "triggerhappy" on foreign policy, while McCain suggested his foe was "testy" after a thorough critique of his national security credentials.
In both the CBS and NBC polls Obama leads McCain 45 to 42percent. The Democrat had led by six points last month.
But the NBC poll found McCain's supporters to be much less enthusiastic than Obama's, and found widespread concern among voters about his age.
McCain is 72 on August 29. Obama turned 47 on August 4.
Earlier a new George Washington University survey found McCain led the accelerating race by a single point, suggesting his new robust strategy was paying off.
McCain appears to have closed the gap partly by stressing energy policy, as 40percent of those polled by George Washington University said he was the best bet to peg back high petrol prices compared with 37 percent who liked Obama.
In May Obama had led on that question by 19percent but McCain's demands for an expansion of off-shore oil drilling appeared to be bearing fruit, despite Democratic claims it would do little to cut prices at the pump.
Only a month ago McCain faced claims he was running a stuttering, off-message campaign, but is in better shape ahead of his own nominating conventions between September 1 and 4. - Sapa-AFP