updated 10/31/2004 5:00:21 PM ET 2004-10-31T22:00:21

Voter turnout is likely to be higher than in recent presidential elections — especially among young voters — in a very close race, weekend polls suggest.

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Those polls suggest the race is very close nationally with some polls showing President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry even and another showing Bush slightly ahead.

Bush has a slight edge at 48 percent and Kerry at 45 percent in a Pew Research Center poll, while tracking polls by ABC News and Fox News have the two running even.

New polls show Bush and Kerry knotted in key states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

More than eight in 10 registered voters in the Pew poll, 84 percent, describe this election as especially important, compared with 67 percent in 2000 and 61 percent in 1996.

Pew pollster Andrew Kohut said the poll suggests turnout could be as high or slightly higher than in 1992, when it was more than 55 percent of those eligible to vote — based on his analysis of voter enthusiasm.

Bush had more intense support from his backers than Kerry, though both get the backing of about nine in 10 in their own parties. By almost a 2-to-1 margin, voters thought Bush, not Kerry, would win.

Both sides have aggressively pushed for early voting, and the poll suggested they were about even among early voters.

The Pew poll of 2,408 registered voters and 1,925 likely voters was taken Oct. 27-Oct. 30 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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