updated 5/19/2004 3:49:58 PM ET 2004-05-19T19:49:58

Democrat John Kerry trails President Bush in North Carolina, but a poll out Wednesday suggests Kerry could be competitive in the state if Sen. John Edwards were on the Democratic ticket.

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Kerry, expected to be the Democratic presidential nominee, is considering a number of potential running mates, including Edwards, a North Carolina senator.

In a head-to-head matchup, Bush is backed by 48 percent while Kerry is backed by 41 percent. Three percent would back independent Ralph Nader, according to the Mason-Dixon poll sponsored by several news organizations in the state.

If Edwards were Kerry’s running mate, the race would be even — Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney would be at 46 percent and Kerry-Edwards at 45 percent. North Carolina has backed Republicans in every presidential election since 1976.

Kerry spokesman Anthony Coley was noncommittal in response: “John Kerry has said that his vice-presidential selection process is personal and private.”

The poll of 625 registered voters was taken May 14-17 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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