updated 8/28/2004 2:37:36 PM ET 2004-08-28T18:37:36

Voters are so deadlocked on their choice for president that the campaigns will need to focus on keeping the intensity of support high and turning them out on Election Day, according to pollsters who conducted a bipartisan survey.

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The overall race between Democrat John Kerry and President Bush, a Republican, remains deadlocked.

Kerry showed little movement in the head-to-head matchup with Bush after the Democratic National Convention last month in Boston, gaining slightly in some polls. A new Los Angeles Times poll on Thursday gave Bush the edge.

But Kerry has solidified support among key groups, like blacks and union voters, according to the bipartisan Battleground Poll, and is now running even with the incumbent on strength of support.

That poll found that 84 percent of voters say they have made a definite choice for president, compared with 64 percent who said that at a comparable time in the late summer of 2000.

Bush will attempt to influence the electorate at the Republican National Convention next week in New York.

“Realistically, the Bush campaign should expect little or no bounce ... because of the polarized political environment,” said Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who joined Democrat Celinda Lake in conducting the poll sponsored by George Washington University. Lake agreed.

“There’s nobody left to bounce,” she said. “The undecided voters, who tend to be female and non-college, will decide late.”

A key for Bush after the convention will be regaining an advantage in the intensity of support, Goeas said.

The poll found that evangelical Christians, a Republican leaning group, have been contacted by campaign workers at a higher rate than blacks and Hispanics, who tend to lean Democratic. Lake said that means Democrats need to push hard to match the GOP outreach.

The poll found Kerry and running mate John Edwards backed by 48 percent, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney backed by 47 percent and independents Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo backed by 3 percent.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Aug. 15-17 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The Los Angeles Times poll found Bush with 49 percent of support to Kerry’s 46 percent, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The telephone poll of 1,352 registered voters nationwide was conducted Saturday through Tuesday.

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