Video: Close race

By
NBC News
updated 10/31/2004 8:16:39 PM ET 2004-11-01T01:16:39

It looks like this election is going to be what we always thought it would be: close. Really close. 

Two days out, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows a dead-even race between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry. Nevertheless, it seems to have some good news for Bush on the missing explosives in Iraq and on Osama bin Laden's recent message that was broadcast to the world. 

According to the survey, conducted by Hart/McInturff, Bush gets support from 48 percent of likely voters, Kerry gets 47 percent, and independent Ralph Nader gets 1 percent. That's a slight change from the previous NBC/Journal poll released earlier this month, when Bush and Kerry were tied at 48 percent.

This poll — which was conducted Oct. 29-31 among 1,014 likely voters, and which has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points — comes after a flurry of other surveys that show the presidential race is too close to call, both nationally and in key battleground states. Moreover, it comes after an eventful week, in which the two campaigns, the press, and the public focused on 380 tons of missing explosives in Iraq, and also on the tape Osama bin Laden released on Friday.

When asked whether the Bush administration is at fault and should be held accountable for the missing explosives, 49 percent of the respondents in the poll say no, while just 38 percent say yes. In addition, the survey finds that 24 percent say Osama bin Laden's recent statement that "any state that does not mess with our security, has naturally guaranteed its own security" made them more inclined to vote for Bush. Twelve percent say it made them more inclined to vote for Kerry, and 62 percent say it made no difference at all. (This question about bin Laden has a margin of error of 4.0 percentage points.)

Furthermore, the poll shows that 49 percent of likely voters believe that terrorism and social issues are the two issues they find more important in deciding whom they will vote for in this election. That's compared with 39 percent who say the economy and health care are more important.

Mark Murray covers politics for NBC News.

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