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If the election for president of the United States were held today, Democratic challenger John Kerry would win easily, approaching the sort of lopsided electoral college victories reminiscent of the Clinton 90s and the Reagan 80s.
Based on a unique collection of state-by-state interactive polls of likely voters in 16 battleground states where the presidential election is expected to be decided this fall, Mr. Kerry leads incumbent Republican President George W. Bush by 102 electoral college votes, 320 to 218.
The Internet polls were conducted May 18-23 by Zogby Interactive of Utica, New York. Each state carries a slightly different margin of error. Mr. Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, has made critical inroads in key Midwestern states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin, and leads in Florida, where Democrat Al Gore lost the race for the White House four years ago, the poll shows.
And while otherwise making solid gains around the country, the senator is trailing in just one toss-up state that was won by Mr. Gore four years ago ? Iowa.
Even then, Mr. Kerry?s deficit there is just five percent.
The Zogby Interactive poll measured 16 states individually that make up the battleground for the White House this year. In those states, 177 electoral votes are up for grabs in the November election. That this is the battleground couldn?t be more clear: if Mr. Bush were to win the same states in that group that he won four years ago, he would reap 89 electoral votes, while Democrat John Kerry would win 88.
The poll considers those states not included to be predictable, favoring the candidate of the same party that they did four years ago. Assuming that, Mr. Bush would hold a 17-vote collective advantage in the electoral college in those 34 states - 189 to 172 - over Mr. Kerry. This takes into account the shift in electoral college votes, following the 2000 U.S. Census, from states losing population, mostly in the Midwest and northeast, to states gaining population, mostly in the south and west.
Considering the changes in the allocation of electoral college votes since 2000, should the 2004 election be an exact repeat of 2000, Mr. Bush would win with a slightly larger margin, 278 votes to 260.
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