Barack Obama has lost ground among some of his strongest bases of support, including young people, women, Democrats and independents, according to a new ATV/Zogby poll.
The Illinois Democrat has also lost some support among African-Americans and Hispanics, where his lead over Republican John McCain has shrunk, and among Catholics, where he's lost his lead.
The net result, pollster John Zogby found, is a race that's neck and neck, with McCain supported by 42 percent; Obama by 41 percent; Libertarian Bob Barr by 2 percent; and independent Ralph Nader by 2 percent. Another 13 percent supported other candidates or were undedcided.
But an AP/Ipsos poll gives Obama a 6 point lead, 47 to 41 percent, with solid margins among women, minorities and young voters.
Zogby called the results of his poll a "notable turnaround" from a July survey he did that showed Obama leading by 46-36.
"McCain made signifciant gains at Obama's expense among some of what had been Obama's strongest demographic groups," Zogby said.
-Among voters aged 18-29, Obama lost 16 percent and McCain gained 20. Obama still leads, 49-38;
-Among women, McCain gained 10 percentage points. Obama now leads 43-38;
-Among independents, Obama lost an 11 point lead. They're now tied;
-Among Democrats, Obama's support dropped from 83 percent to 74 percent;
-Among Catholics, Obama lost the 11 point lead he had in July and now trails McCain by 15.
Zogby said Obama also lost ground among minorities.
He attributed Obama's erosion of support to McCain's criticisms of Obama as inexperienced in the wake of Obama's trip to Europe, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq and to Obama's flips on some issues.
"The survey results come as Obama, fresh off what had been characterized as a triumphant tour of the Middle East and Europe, including a speech to 200,000 Germans in Berlin. That trip quickly became fodder for an aggressive response ad by the McCain campaign that questioned whether Obama's popularity around the world meant he was ready to lead the U.S.," Zogby said.
"The McCain camp seems to have turned lemons into lemonade. Huge crowds and mostly favorable press reviews of Obama's overseas trip have been trumped by McCain's attacks on Obama. Loss of support for Obama among young voters may also be due to his perceived reversals on issues they care about, such as the war and government eavesdropping."
The poll of 1,011 likely voters was conducted July 31-Aug 1 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The AP/Ipsos poll was conducted July 31-Aug. 4 and involved telephone interviews with 1,002 adults, for whom the margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Included were interviews with 833 registered voters, for whom the error margin was plus or minus 3.4 points.
According to that samplingMcCain is leading by 10 points among whites and is even with Obama among men, groups with whom Republicans traditionally do well in national elections. He has a 17-point lead with white men and was running strongly among married men, rural residents and white evangelicals.
Obama leads by 13 points among women, by 30 points among voters up to age 34, and by 55 points among blacks, Hispanics and other minorities, the poll shows. He is also doing strongly with unmarried men, moderates and city dwellers, and has a 12-point lead among those saying they definitely plan to vote.
The two men were evenly dividing Catholics and suburban residents, swing groups the parties contest in every election.