Narrowing the battleground

By Jeff Horwitz
Published October 14, 2004 6:48PM (EDT)

With less than three weeks left until election day and many state polls still deadlocked, both campaigns have to make some key choices about where to focus their efforts.

While Kerry-Edwards will invest at least some advertising dollars and resources in 21 states, the Dems, reports the Boston Globe, will be going for broke in seven of them: Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The last week's worth of polling in four of those seven key states adds up to gibberish. In both Ohio and Wisconsin, two polling firms thought Kerry led, and another two thought he trailed. In Nevada, no public poll has been published in more than a week, and the results were mixed before then. Iowa moved from Bush, to Kerry, to a tie.

But there's something of a consensus in the remaining three states. Over the last seven days, Bush led Kerry by between 3 and 5 points in Florida. In Minnesota, Kerry's up 1 to 2, and in Pennsylvania, Kerry's up between 1 and 3.

There are indications that the Bush/Cheney campaign is also narrowing its gaze: According to the New York Daily News, the Republicans appear to be abandoning Pennsylvania. Though Bush has visited Pennsylvania 39 times since taking office, the White House reports the president hasn't scheduled any more trips to the state. Nor is Pennsylvania now in the top ten markets in which Bush is buying ads. Though a Bush campaign spokesman denied that B/C '04 was ceding the state to Kerry, no campaigning is a pretty reliable indication of that.

Jeff Horwitz

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