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Reuters poll: Bush grabs one-point lead on Kerry
Updated: 2004-10-22 09:21

US President Bush opened a slight one-point lead on Democratic rival John Kerry in a tight race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Thursday.

Bush led Kerry 46-45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, a statistical dead heat well within the poll's margin of error.

They were tied at 46 percent the previous two days.

About 6 percent of likely voters are still undecided between the president and the Massachusetts senator less than two weeks before the Nov. 2 election.

The close margin and seesawing momentum was similar to the 2000 race between Bush and Democrat Al Gore, pollster John Zogby said. Bush narrowly won that race after a 36-day recount battle in Florida that was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"As we've said all along, 2004 is playing out as close as 2000," Zogby said. At this point in the 2000 race, Gore led Bush by two points in Zogby's tracking poll, with 8 percent undecided.

With the race so close, Bush and Kerry have stepped up their attacks in recent days. On Tuesday. Bush said Kerry did not recognize the threats facing the United States and Kerry said Bush's pursuit of war in Iraq had weakened the fight against terror.

The poll found the number of likely voters who thought Bush deserved re-election was 46 percent, while the number who wanted someone new was 49 percent. Only 45 percent rated Bush's presidential performance as good or excellent, while 54 percent said it was fair or poor.

The poll of 1,212 likely voters was taken Monday through Wednesday 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 one percent of likely voters.

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