A Gallup poll released Friday has Bush ahead of Kerry 50-47 in a two-way race and 48-46 when Nader is included in the question. The two-way race number is essentially unchanged since the end of July; the three-way number has moved in Kerry's direction just a bit.
The Gallup poll also shows Bush's approval ratings ticking up a bit since July, a development trumpeted in a polling memo the Bush-Cheney campaign has just sent to its supporters. However, a Pew Research Center poll released Thursday -- and all but lost to news of Hurricanes Charley and McGreevey -- showed Bush's approval ratings unchanged since June.
The Pew poll has Kerry ahead of Bush 47-45 among registered voters. Those numbers are virtually unchanged since July. While Pew says that Kerry hasn't enjoyed a convention bounce, it also has some bad news for Bush: Voters may still favor Bush on most "character" issues, but they like Kerry better when it comes to the substantive issues in the race. The economy, Pew says, is now a "major problem" for the president.
Zogby is out with a new poll and has Kerry up 47-43 among likely voters when Nader and other third-party candidates are on the list. Zogby says that Kerry is stronger in blue states than Bush is in red states, and that Kerry would whip Bush if the only people allowed to vote were those who hold U.S. passports.
Finally, the latest poll out of North Carolina shows the race tightening there. The News & Observer poll shows that Kerry, who trailed Bush by five points a month ago, has pulled within three points of the president. North Carolina hasn't gone Democratic since 1976; in 2000, Bush beat Gore there by 13 points. While no one is putting North Carolina in the blue column yet, the Democrats will at least make Bush work for a win there. Kerry will campaign in North Carolina later this week.