Less than a week before the Republican convention begins, the race for the White House is a virtual tie.  According to a Fox News poll of likely voters, the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket receives the backing of 45 percent, while the Barack Obama-Joe Biden ticket garners 44 percent.

The poll, released Thursday, is the first Fox has conducted among likely voters this year, which means an apples-to-apples comparison can’t be made to previous polls.  Likely voters are eligible/registered voters who will most likely cast a ballot in this year’s presidential election.

This is also the first Fox poll to ask about the top and bottom of the major party tickets:  Democrats Obama and Vice President Joe Biden against Republicans Romney and Paul Ryan.  Romney announced his vice presidential pick of Wisconsin Rep. Ryan on August 11.

Both tickets have already gained the support of many of their key voting blocs.  Romney has the edge among white Evangelical Christians (70-18 percent), white voters (53-36 percent), married voters (51-38 percent), men (48-40 percent) and seniors (50-41 percent).

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