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Zogby: Bush vs Kerry a "Dead Heat"

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OrangeSoul    0

The U.S. presidential race between Republican incumbent George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry is in ``a virtual dead heat'' based on polls in 20 battleground states, Zogby International said on its Web site.

The polls showed that neither Bush nor Kerry, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, has a clear lead in enough states to garner the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the Nov. 2 election. Based on surveys from Sept. 13 through 17, Kerry had 264 votes to Bush's 241. Each state poll had its own margin of error, which Zogby didn't specify in a statement on the Web site.

Bush made some gains in the two weeks since Zogby's last poll predicting the Electoral College tally, when he had 222 votes. Missouri and Nevada moved from undecided into the Bush camp, and Colorado switched from Kerry to Bush, the Utica, New York-based Zogby said.

``My hat is off to the president,'' pollster John Zogby said on his Web site. ``But this battle is not over,'' adding that ``neither candidate has hefty enough leads overall or in many of the battleground states.''

The pollster says its Electoral College count assumes that the 30 states not included in the battleground group will go to the candidate of the party they backed in the 2000 election. On that basis, Bush starts with 142 Electoral College votes compared with 172 for Kerry.

The 20 states in the battleground group have 224 votes in the Electoral College. Two of the states, Florida and Arkansas, remain too close to call. If Kerry captures Arkansas, home to former President Bill Clinton with six votes, and Florida with 27 votes goes to Bush, whose brother is the state's governor, the Electoral College vote would narrowly favor Kerry, 270-268.

In the event of a tie, the election would be decided by the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republicans currently hold a 23-seat majority in the House.

The battleground states include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.


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Joel    26


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