The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Race too close to call in final lap

Washington, Oct. 31 (Reuters): President George W. Bush and Democratic senator John Kerry are tied with two days remaining in a tense race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released today.

Kerry and Bush were deadlocked at 48 per cent in the latest three-day national tracking poll, which included one day of polling taken after the airing of a videotape from Osama bin Laden.

Kerry led Bush 47-46 per cent yesterday.

Only 2 per cent of voters remain undecided as Bush and Kerry scour about 10 remaining battleground states to find the 270 electoral votes they need to win on Tuesday.

'Each man has consolidated his own base,' pollster John Zogby said.

'Bush has good leads in the red states, among investors, and among Republicans, born-again Christians, men and married voters,' he said.

'Kerry has a solid lead in the blue states and trumps Bush among young voters, African Americans, Hispanics, Democrats, women, union voters and singles.'

Bush earned a positive job performance rating from 46 per cent and a negative rating from 53 per cent.

The Massachusetts senator had a 51-41 per cent edge among newly registered voters, an unpredictable group that could be a wild card on Tuesday depending on how many actually turn out to vote.

Neither candidate has been able to establish a clear advantage or break the 50 per cent barrier since the tracking poll began on October 7.

At this stage of the disputed 2000 election, Bush led Gore by two points in the daily tracking poll.

The poll of 1,207 likely voters was taken from Thursday through Saturday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The rolling poll will continue through Monday.

The national poll showed independent candidate Ralph Nader, blamed by some Democrats for drawing enough votes from Gore to cost him the election in 2000, with 1.2 per cent.

Kerry had the lead yesterday in six of 10 battleground states being polled separately, but Bush expanded his lead to five percentage points in the showdown state of Ohio.

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.

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