Reuters Poll: Bush Holds Three-Point Lead on Kerry
Mon Oct 25, 2004 07:09 AM ET
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush holds a slender three-point lead over Democratic rival John Kerry in a tight race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Monday.
Bush led Kerry 48-45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, gaining one point on the Massachusetts senator eight days before the Nov. 2 election. Bush led Kerry 48-46 percent the day before.
About 5 percent of likely voters are still undecided heading into the final full week of the campaign, but Bush has opened a 12-point lead on Kerry among independents.
"How will the remaining undecideds break?" pollster John Zogby asked, noting they traditionally move toward the challenger at the end of a race. "But who can tell this year?"
Bush's three-point lead is identical to the three-point lead he held on Democrat Al Gore in the tracking poll at this stage of the disputed 2000 election.
Kerry, who is Catholic, is tied with Bush among Catholics but still holds strong advantages among black and young voters. The size of the turnout among those crucial voting blocs could play a critical role in the outcome.
The number of likely voters who thought Bush deserved reelection was 48 percent and 48 percent wanted someone new. That represented an improvement for Bush, whose presidential performance was rated as excellent or good by 48 percent while 51 percent said it was fair or poor.
The poll of 1,204 likely voters was taken Friday through Sunday 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.
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.
The poll showed independent candidate Ralph Nader, blamed by some Democrats for drawing enough votes from Gore to cost him the election in 2000, with the support of 1.1 percent of likely voters.