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Newest Reuters Poll: Bush Leads Kerry by 1 point


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Reuters Poll: Bush Leads Kerry by 1 Point

By John Whitesides


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush leads Democratic rival John Kerry by 1 point with six days left in a tight race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.


Bush led Kerry 48-47 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll, as the Massachusetts senator gained 2 points on Bush in a day. Bush led Kerry 49-46 percent on Tuesday.



Bush's lead was well within the poll's margin of error, leaving the White House rivals in a statistical dead heat heading into the stretch run.


"Today was a big day for Kerry," pollster John Zogby said.


Kerry has consolidated his base support just as Bush did early in the race, taking a 2-to-1 lead among Hispanics, 90 percent of blacks, 84 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of union voters and 65 percent of singles.


Only 4 percent of likely voters remain undecided.


At this stage of the 2000 election, Bush led Democrat Al Gore by 5 points in the daily tracking poll.


The number of likely voters who thought Bush deserved reelection, 48 percent, was equal to those who wanted someone new. Bush's presidential performance was rated as excellent or good by 49 percent, and 51 percent said it was only fair or poor.


The poll of 1,203 likely voters was taken Sunday through Tuesday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The rolling poll will continue through Nov. 1 -- the day before the election.


In a series of Reuters/Zogby tracking polls in 10 battleground states, Kerry led in five states and Iowa was tied. Bush built on his leads in the key states of Ohio and Florida, while Kerry had an edge in Pennsylvania and moved into a slim lead in Wisconsin. All four results were within the poll's margin of error.


Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania and their combined 68 electoral votes are the biggest prizes remaining among toss-up states as the rivals try to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.


The national poll showed independent candidate Ralph Nader, blamed by some Democrats for drawing enough votes from Gore to cost him the election in 2000, with less than 1 percent.


A tracking poll combines the results of three consecutive nights of polling, then drops the first night's results each time a new night is added. It allows pollsters to record shifts in voter sentiment as they happen.

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