Kerry trails in battleground states

Donald Lambro:

"Sen. John Kerry is trailing or tied with President Bush in many of the battleground states Democrats won in 2000 and that will likely decide the outcome of this year's elections, according to a survey of polls across the country by The Washington Times.

"With six months to go before the November election, Mr. Bush is surprising political pundits and Democratic strategists in key Democratic-leaning states in the Northeast and Midwest.

"For example, the president is leading in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two of the nation's largest industrial states that carry a combined 38 electoral votes, and he is in near-ties with Mr. Kerry in New Jersey, Oregon, Maryland and Iowa ? all states that Al Gore won in 2000.


"National and battleground polls over the past several weeks show Mr. Kerry losing ground overall, the result of a concentrated, monthlong ad campaign by Mr. Bush's strategists, an improving economy and rising public concern about the terrorist threat, which is the president's strongest issue and his opponent's weakest, according to most polls.


"?Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes): An April 13-19 Quinnipiac University poll of 769 registered voters showed Mr. Bush leading Mr. Kerry 46 percent to 42 percent, with 7 percent undecided. When consumer crusader Ralph Nader is included, Mr. Bush leads 45 percent to 39 percent, with 8 percent for Mr. Nader. The margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.


"?New Jersey (15 electoral votes): Mr. Gore carried this state by 16 points in 2000. But a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll taken April 3 to 10 found the two rivals in a close race ? 47 percent for the president versus 48 percent for Mr. Kerry, a surprising development in a heavily Democratic state that was thought to be solidly in Kerry's column. The poll's margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.

"? Michigan (17 electoral votes): An EPIC/MRA poll taken at the beginning of this month put the race in a close race ? 47 percent for Mr. Kerry to 45 percent for Mr. Bush. The two-point gap was well within the poll's margin of error. An earlier survey by Michigan pollster Steve Mitchell for the Detroit News in March had Mr. Bush leading 46 percent to 42 percent.


"? Iowa (7 electoral votes): An American Research Group poll of 600 likely voters, conducted April 18 to 21, showed Mr. Bush trailing Mr. Kerry by a single point, 47 percent to 46 percent, with Mr. Nader at 3 percent and 4 percent of respondents undecided. The poll's margin of error was four percentage points.

"? Florida (27 electoral votes): A Mason-Dixon poll completed April 1 showed Mr. Bush leading Mr. Kerry 51 percent to 43 percent. More recent polls show the president holding a smaller lead in a state where unemployment is a low 4 percent and where Mr. Bush has made numerous trips over the past three years. The poll's margin of error was four percentage points."


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