Democrat John Kerry (search) has taken a slight lead over President Bush in Florida — the essential swing state in the 2000 election, according to a poll out Thursday.
Kerry and running mate John Edwards (search) had the backing of 47 percent, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney (search) had the support of 41 percent and independent Ralph Nader (search) and his running mate Peter Camejo (search) had 4 percent in the Quinnipiac University poll.
Bush and Kerry were deadlocked in Florida at 43 percent each in a Quinnipiac poll in late June.
The August poll found Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (search), the president's younger brother, getting tepid reviews from Floridians. They were evenly split on whether they approve or disapprove of the job the second-term governor is doing.
The survey also found fewer than half, 47 percent, were "very confident" that their vote would count. Only one in five said the same about new touch-screen voting machines that will be used this year in 15 of the state's largest counties.
Bush's 537-vote edge in Florida in 2000 gave him the presidency over Democrat Al Gore after a fierce political struggle that included recounts, lawsuits and a final decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of Bush.
Florida since has spent more than $32 million on improvements in equipment and voter education, but machine malfunctions in subsequent elections and the removal of one county supervisor for incompetence has contributed to voter uncertainty.
The poll of 1,094 registered voters was taken Aug. 5-10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.