Gallup Final Pre-Election Poll: Near-Deadlock
Poll: Bush, Kerry in near-deadlock (USA Today)
President Bush and John Kerry are in a near-tie in the final USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll before the 2004 election Ã¢€” a strong sign that this race, which has stayed close since Kerry became the likely Democratic nominee in March, will remain that way when voters go to the polls Tuesday.
Bush gets 49% and Kerry gets 47% among likely voters in the poll, which was conducted Friday-Sunday. Three percent offered no opinion. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percentage points, meaning Bush does not have a clear lead. Ralph Nader failed to break the 1% threshold, as all other candidates as a group drew a single percentage point of support. The poll used a sample of 2,014 national adults Ã¢€” a larger sample than past polls, which reduces the margin of error. In addition, in this final poll, Gallup used a statistical model to allocate undecided voters to the candidates. Using that model, the race is in a 49%-49% tie, with Nader getting 1% and all other candidates also receiving 1%.
The survey also is closer than the last USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll of a week ago, which gave Bush a 51-46 advantage.
The closeness of the 2004 election also is reflected in a number of USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup polls in so-called battleground states. Polls of likely voters in those states were as follows:
Ã¢€¢ Florida: Kerry with 49%, Bush with 46%.
Ã¢€¢ Ohio: Kerry 50%, Bush 46%.
Ã¢€¢ Pennsylvania: Bush 50%, Kerry 46%.
Ã¢€¢ Iowa: Bush 48%, Kerry 46%.
Ã¢€¢ Minnesota: Kerry leading Bush, 52%-44%.
Ã¢€¢ Wisconsin: Bush leading Kerry, 52%-44%.
All state polls concluded Sunday and had an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.
The swing in the Florida results are perhaps the most dramatic. There have been six USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup polls in the state since mid-July, and this is the first one to give Kerry an advantage. However, that gap is still within the margin of error. The poll also reflected some changes in the way presidential elections are held. Seventeen percent of registered voters in the survey said they already had cast a presidential ballot in the election, and another 4% planned to do so before Election Day.
In other results from the poll:
Ã¢€¢ Bush had a 51-46 approval/disapproval rating from likely voters, with 3% expressing no opinion. That keeps him above the crucial 50% that often spells trouble for incumbents, but it is a three-point drop from a survey a week ago. But when likely voters were asked if they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the nation’s direction, 46% said they were satisfied and 52% were dissatisfied. Fifty-three percent of likely voters said they had a favorable opinion of Bush and 45% said it was unfavorable; Kerry’s numbers on the issue were 51-46.
I’m skeptical of Gallup’s state polls, which seem outliers, but Gallup is the granddaddy of them all and thus the one that’s used for historical purposes.