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News Analysis: U.S. Republican convention kicks off with candidates level

(Xinhua)

11:01, August 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Republican National Convention officially began in Tampa, Florida, Monday amid a tight race between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.

Although its first-day events were canceled due to Tropical Storm Isaac, the convention is expected to continue the following day.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Monday had Romney ahead at 47 percent to Obama's 46 percent among registered voters. The same survey last month had the two deadlocked at 47 percent.

Romney's pre-convention bounce could grow this week as the country gets a better look at the contender in a tightly managed event designed to boost his image, unlike the debates in the coming months, in which either candidate's appeal to voters could diminish, some analysts say.

RealClearPolitics.com's poll average is also close, putting Obama's support at 47 percent and Romney's at 46 percent. The polls mirror the tight race in the past few months in which the candidates have been running neck and neck.

While Romney has lost points here and there in a few polls due to Obama's attack ads, the negative campaign has not made a significant difference, although critics have faulted Romney for not fighting back. Romney has said he wants to keep the race clean.

The challenger's pick of Congressman Paul Ryan as running mate has not significantly changed the race. Some pundits, observers and political prognosticators contended that Florida Senator Marco Rubio would have been a wiser choice for vice president, as the Latino senator could have helped Romney gain more of the Hispanic vote.

Other analysts, however, argued that Ryan was adept at taking complex economic information and boiling it down to layman's terms amid an election in which the economy overwhelmingly tops the list of voters' concerns.

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