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Posted: 10/16/2004 10:57:22 AM EDT
Florida Could Decide The Election

Candidates Are Also Tied Nationally

Oct 16, 2004 8:12 am US/Pacific
(CBS) Florida, a critical battleground for both presidential candidates, is shaping up as a cliffhanger again as Campaign 2004 heads into the homestretch, according to a new survey by The Washington Post, Univision and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute.

Just as it did in 2000, the Sunshine State could well be the one that decides this election, and the new poll of likely voters gives both Mr. Bush and Kerry 48 percent of the vote in a hypothetical ballot test -- mirroring the race nationally.

Independent Ralph Nader, whose votes probably cost Al Gore the state, pulled one percent, slightly below his statewide percentage four years ago. Mr. Bush and Kerry were also tied among registered votes, at 47 percent each, with Nader at one percent, the Post says in its Saturday editions.

The newspaper notes that, "Florida and its 27 electoral votes represent the biggest single prize left on an electoral map that has seen the number of truly competitive states shrink to a dozen or fewer."

The Post also points to what it calls "one of the most important subplots in Florida" - namely, Kerry's battler to make inroads against the president with the state's increasingly diverse Hispanic population.

A separate poll conducted by The Post, Univision and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) shows Bush holding a significant lead among Hispanic voters in Florida.

Mr. Bush has an overwhelming lead among Florida's Cuban Americans, who dominate the state's Hispanic population. But among the faster-growing non-Cuban Hispanic groups in Florida, the race is a virtual dead heat. The poll of Florida Latinos found Mr. Bush the favorite among older and foreign-born Hispanics while U.S.-born Hispanics split their vote. Nearly one in five Florida residents is of Hispanic descent.

"Battered by hurricanes," the Post observes, "Florida turned into a political black hole for much of September. Now it is the scene of a battle every bit as intense as the one that played out in 2000, with voters bombarded by television ads, the candidates canvassing the state, and the two parties and various independent groups targeting almost every slice of the electorate."

Both candidates have scheduled a round of campaigning in Florida over the weekend, as they continue to crisscross the remaining battleground states.

Kerry will embark on another bus tour through Ohio Saturday, then fly to Florida, where he’ll spend Sunday and Monday. John Edwards also has a rally scheduled in Florida on Saturday, in Miami.

Mr. Bush buses to rallies on tap in Sunrise, West Palm Beach and Daytona, Florida on Saturday.

He plans to mark what he portrays as an infamous date for Kerry, namely, Sunday's anniversary of the Senate vote on his $87 billion aid package for Iraq and Afghanistan. It's the one Kerry favored on a procedural vote, but opposed on final passage. Mr. Bush continues to mock Kerry's explanation: that he voted for the package, before he voted against it.

Kerry warned, in a newspaper interview published Friday, that the military draft might be revived to replenish U.S. forces in Iraq if Mr. Bush wins a second term.

Kerry told The Des Moines Register, "With George Bush, the plan for Iraq is more of the same and the great potential of a draft."

Mr. Bush vowed in the second presidential debate that, if he's re-elected, "We're not going to have a draft, period."

The president did not directly respond to Kerry's comment during a campaign appearance Friday in Cedar, Rapids, Iowa. But he said that he was "modernizing and transforming our United States military to keep the all-volunteer army an all-volunteer army."

Bush-Cheney campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry's statement amounts to "fear mongering" and demonstrates "that he is a candidate will to do or say anything to score political points."

Kerry focused on pocketbook issues during a speech in Milwaukee, the first of a series of speeches aides described as the campaign's "closing arguments."

"Right now, we've got an economy where, for too many people, the American Dream is harder and harder to reach," Kerry told students at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

"Jobs are being shipped overseas," Kerry said, "and his administration says outsourcing is good for us. He's the first president to lose jobs in 72 years, and they say it's time to celebrate."

Kerry portrayed the president as out of touch with the everyday challenges facing families.

"George Bush has had four years to do something — anything — to create an economy where hard working Americans can live out their dreams," Kerry said. "The problem is, this president just doesn't understand what's happened to our economy."

"The bottom line is this," Kerry said, "this economy has a bad case of the flu and we need a new medicine.

The president said Kerry doesn’t seem to understand the connection between jobs and education.

"In the final debate I talked about the vital link between education and jobs; the senator didn't seem to get it," Mr. Bush told supporters in Cedar Rapids.

Mr. Bush said good jobs begin with education and that Kerry "failed to recognize the changing realities of today's world and the need for reform."

The administration's programs for job retraining and accountability in the nation's schools have drawn strong criticism from the Kerry campaign, which says they are inadequately funded.

The president is taking a calculated risk by focusing on jobs. Though Iowa's unemployment rate is 4.5 percent, well below the national rate of 5.4 percent, the state has lost 28,000 jobs since Mr. Bush took office, with the Cedar Rapids area losing 10,000.

Mr. Bush flew to Iowa on the homestretch of more than a week on the campaign trail that included stops in St. Louis and Tempe, Ariz., for the last two debates. After his Iowa appearance, Mr. Bush was heading to Wisconsin.

The latest polls show the race remains extremely tight. A new poll by the Scripps Survey Research Center shows Kerry with a 50-45 percent lead over Mr. Bush among registered voters. However, Mr. Bush had a slight lead over Kerry among likely voters in the same poll. A Washington Post tracking poll has the race dead even, while a Zogby tracking poll gives Mr. Bush a 4-point lead.

A poll of military members and their families by the National Annenberg Election Survey shows Mr. Bush is more trusted to be commander in chief than Kerry, by a 69-24 margin.

The military sample was far more likely to be Republican than Democratic, which could help explain the more favorable view of the president. Four in 10, 43 percent, of the military sample said they were Republicans, while 19 percent said Democrats and 27 percent independents.

Those in the military and their families have a more favorable view of the president than Americans generally, and they take a more optimistic view about Iraq, the economy and the nation's direction.

99.9% of those too stupid to use a punch card ballot plan to vote for Kerry

Link Posted: 10/16/2004 11:09:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/16/2004 12:53:14 PM EDT
Well...I see a WHOLE LOT more pro Bush bumper stickers on cars in my town than I see pro Kerry stickers.

But, on a side note...
When I do see a pro Kerry sticker, I always try to drive up next to them, to see what kind of person they look like.
They usually DO look like someone too stupid to use a punch card ballot.
Link Posted: 10/16/2004 4:04:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By madmedic:
Well...I see a WHOLE LOT more pro Bush bumper stickers on cars in my town than I see pro Kerry stickers.

Well that's a scientific poll. Bush has a solid lead amoung those more likely to own cars, and willingly put sticky glue on their cars.
Link Posted: 10/16/2004 4:08:09 PM EDT
Mr. Bush is not his title.
Link Posted: 10/16/2004 4:23:27 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/16/2004 4:35:11 PM EDT
The biased liberal left-leaning ax-grinding news media is trying to help out Kerry, with some better numbers. The L.A. Times was saying that ex-Gov Grey Davis was leading in the polls until they declared Ahnold the winner.
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