CBS Poll: Down To The Wire

GENERIC President Bush and John Kerry over the presidential seal AP / CBS

The race for the White House remains deadlocked with one day to go. In interviews conducted Thursday through Sunday, George W. Bush holds just a one-point lead over Senator John Kerry among likely voters, well within this poll's margin of error.

Among all registered voters, the race is tied at 46 percent each.

CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT
(Likely voters)

Bush-Cheney
Now
47%
Thursday-Saturday
49%
Two weeks ago
47%

Kerry-Edwards
Now
46%
Thursday-Saturday
46%
Two weeks ago
45%

Nader-Camejo
Now
1%
Thursday-Saturday
1%
Two weeks ago
2%

The national horserace does not appear to have been affected by the airing of the Osama bin Laden tape on Friday: in the interviews conducted over the weekend days Saturday and Sunday, presidential preference results are the same as for the entire four days reported here. There were, however, a slightly higher number of undecided voters in Sunday interviewing. Undecided voters were asked which candidate they leaned toward; with their answers included, the race is unchanged.

Independent candidate Ralph Nader was offered as a choice to voters only in states where he is on the ballot, and he draws just one percent of the vote.

Confidence in President Bush's ability to keep the nation safe from terrorism did drop somewhat in interviews conducted after the bin Laden tape aired. In surveys completed Thursday through Saturday 46 percent said they had a lot of confidence in Bush to protect the U.S. Interviews Saturday and Sunday showed that number at 39 percent.

CONFIDENT THAT HE WILL PROTECT COUNTRY FROM TERRORISM:
(Registered Voters)

KERRY
A lot
Sat-Sun
28%
Thurs-Sat
30%

Some
Sat-Sun
34%
Thurs-Sat
32%

Not much
Sat-Sun
19%
Thurs-Sat
19%

None at all
Sat-Sun
17%
Thurs-Sat
18%


BUSH
A lot
Sat-Sun
39%
Thurs-Sat
46%

Some
Sat-Sun
25%
Thurs-Sat
24%

Not much
Sat-Sun
16%
Thurs-Sat
13%

None at all
Sat-Sun
18%
Thurs-Sat
15%

CBS News will continue to poll through election eve and report those results on Tuesday's Early Show.


QUALITIES AND ISSUES
The perception of President Bush having strong qualities of leadership also dipped a bit over the weekend. Interviews conducted through Saturday show 62 percent of voters say he is a strong leader. Interviews on Saturday and Sunday put the number at 58 percent. Kerry's ratings on this nudged up slightly in the same time period, narrowing the gap between the two to four points.

STRONG QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP?
(Registered Voters)

Yes
Kerry
Sat-Sun
54%
Thurs-Sat
52%

Bush
Sat-Sun
58%
Thurs-Sat
62%

There was no increase in the Saturday through Sunday period in voters' fear that terrorists might try to disrupt the Tuesday election. Few believe such an attack is very likely, similar to interviews conducted Thursday through Saturday.



This poll was conducted among a nationwide sample of 1345 adults, interviewed by telephone October 28-31, 2004, including 1194 registered voters.

824 registered voters were interviewed Thursday through Saturday and 700 interviewed Saturday and Sunday. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for registered voters and for the total sample. Each registered voter is assigned a probability of voting, which is used to calculate the likely voter results. The sum of these probabilities is the effective number of likely voters. The effective number of likely voters for the full sample is 939. The margin of error for the number of likely voters could be plus or minus three points.


For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here. For information on how we define "likely voters," click here.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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