Kerry gaining in battleground states

Published September 21, 2004 6:14PM (EDT)

Sixteen new Zogby state polls written up in the Wall Street Journal show John Kerry's standing improving Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If those states were to go his way, it would translate to a 125-52 battleground state lead for Kerry in electoral vote projections -- but considering that the margins in PA and WI are less than three points, and in Florida, less than one point, all three states are still toss-ups.

And while Kerry may not be winning in Ohio, it's good news for him to still be in the game at all. Earlier this month, Zogby showed Bush holding a double-digit lead in the state, raising the possibility that the massive voter registration, organizing and advertising campaign the Democrats and their allies had mounted in Ohio was a lost cause. Now, according to Zogby, Bush's lead has fallen to three points -- within the poll's margin of error.

Beyond individual states, the results suggest a rising tide for Kerry: Since the last Zogby poll, Kerry's improved his standing in nine states, while Bush has built on his numbers in only six.

"Mr. Kerry has made more progress than Mr. Bush in solidifying his support in the battlegrounds that the Democrats won in 2000. The senator's lead is greater than the margin of error in five of the eight battlegrounds that Al Gore won. Mr. Bush's lead is greater than the margin of error in just one of the eight battlegrounds he won last election."

Zogby only surveyed states that were close in the last election, so today's results exclude a couple of states that were uncontested Gore victories in 2000, but now appear up in the air. Last week Survey USA showed Bush up by four points in New Jersey, which Gore won by a sixteen points; today Survey USA also called the race tied in Maryland, a state that handed Democrats a 16-point victory last time around. Survey USA's results seem dubious, however, because an American Research Group poll conducted only days earlier found Kerry up by nine, and the movement in Maryland polls had been sluggish previously.

By Jeff Horwitz

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