updated 7/14/2004 6:02:25 PM ET 2004-07-14T22:02:25

Democrat John Kerry has moved into a slight lead in the key swing state of Pennsylvania, according to a poll taken just after he chose his running mate.

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The Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday found Kerry was backed by 46 percent of voters, President Bush by 41 percent and independent Ralph Nader by 5 percent.

That’s Kerry’s largest lead in a three-way race in the state since the Massachusetts senator emerged as his party’s presidential pick in March.

A Quinnipiac poll last month showed Kerry and Bush deadlocked, 43 percent to 42 percent, with Nader at 7 percent.

The survey was taken July 6-11, just after Kerry announced his selection of John Edwards, the North Carolina senator.

Quinnipiac University Polling Institute assistant director Clay F. Richards said Edwards, who has a blue-collar background, is helping Kerry in the central and southwest parts of the state, which are struggling economically.

Kerry’s rise is at least partially due to his selection of Edwards, with a majority of voters saying he will help Kerry’s chances of election, Richards said.

Bush “is hampered by a negative approval rating and a majority saying going to war with Iraq was the wrong thing to do,” Richards said.

Fifty-two percent of Pennsylvania voters said they disapprove of Bush’s job performance, compared to 45 percent who approved.

The poll of 1,577 registered voters has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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