Published: Jul 14, 2012 10:58 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 15, 2012 6:30 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - The economy is drawing much of the attention in the White House race, but the outcome may be decided on the margins by narrower issues that energize small but crucial slivers of the population.

For three months, the economy by most measures has faltered. Yet the White House contest has remained locked in place, with President Barack Obama holding a slight national lead or in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney.

Analysts from both parties have no doubt that without a defining, unpredictable moment, the race will remain neck and neck until November.

Several strategists say that means secondary issues such as health care, immigration, education, even little mentioned social issues such as abortion, guns or gay rights could make a difference when targeted to the right audiences.