Bush, Kerry locked in tie
RENO – President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are locked in a tie in the battleground state of Nevada as Election Day nears, according to two statewide polls released Sunday.
In a survey of 600 likely voters by the Reno Gazette-Journal and KRNV-TV, Bush had 49 percent compared with 47 percent for his Democratic challenger.
And in a survey of 600 very likely voters by the Las Vegas Sun, KLAS-TV and KNPR, Bush had 45 percent to Kerry’s 41 percent. Both results are within the margin of error of 4 percentage points for the polls.
The Reno poll was conducted from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 by Maryland-based Research 2000, while the Las Vegas survey was conducted between Oct. 16 and Oct. 19 by Washington-based Belden Russonello & Stewart.
“This is still a statistical dead heat,” said Kate Stewart, whose firm conducted the Las Vegas poll. “The race is considerably tight and Nevada is still a battleground state. You can’t call this race right now because it is within the margin of error.”
Del Ali, whose company conducted the Reno survey, agreed: “It’s a hell of a race. It really is. Right now I’d be shocked if any candidate won by more than 3 or 4 points in Nevada.”
Nevada is receiving unprecedented attention from the candidates as most polls have shown the race about even for the state’s five electoral votes. Voter registration is nearly even among Republicans and Democrats.
Both polls were conducted before Kerry made his first visit to Reno on Friday. Kerry plans to make his sixth stop of the year in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Bush paid his fourth visit of the year to the state on Oct. 14, with stops in Las Vegas and Reno.
“Kerry’s visit (to Reno) will help; he’ll get a little boost,” said Eric Herzik, a Republican and professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
In 2000, Bush narrowly carried the state, 49.5 percent to 46 percent.
In the Las Vegas poll, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian candidate Mike Badnarik each received 1 percent, and 9 percent were undecided.
In the Reno survey, only 2 percent were undecided, while Nader and other candidates each had 1 percent.
Both polls also asked which candidate would better resolve the war in Iraq. The Reno poll found that 45 percent of those surveyed favored Bush, while 44 percent chose Kerry. Bush held a 51-41 percent edge in the Las Vegas survey.
Also in the Las Vegas survey, 58 percent said Bush would better protect the United States from terrorism, compared with 34 percent for Kerry.
But Kerry was seen as stronger in the same poll in creating jobs and improving the economy. The Reno survey found Bush and Kerry in a tie on domestic issues.