updated 8/18/2004 9:32:56 AM ET 2004-08-18T13:32:56

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is maintaining a slight lead over President Bush in the battleground state of Pennsylvania with crucial support from veterans and military families, according to a poll released Wednesday.

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The Quinnipiac University survey shows Kerry with a slight advantage over Republican Bush, 47 percent to 42 percent, with independent candidate Ralph Nader capturing 4 percent.

Last month, the same poll showed Kerry with the same edge — a five-point, 46-41, advantage over Bush in the state.

Pennsylvania veterans and those in military families say they disapprove of the war in Iraq by a 13-point margin. While this group is traditionally more conservative than voters at large, Kerry has the support of 46 percent among this group to 42 percent for Bush.

“In what may prove to be damaging news for the president, the anti-war attitude among voters from military households in Pennsylvania is greater than the attitude among all voters,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Military families and veterans oppose the war by 54 percent to 41 percent. Overall, Pennsylvania voters are more evenly divided on Iraq: 48 percent say going to war was the wrong thing to do, compared with 46 percent who support the president’s decision.

The Quinnipiac poll of 1,430 registered Pennsylvania voters was conducted Aug. 11-16. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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