Trail Tales: 11th Hour Polls

The election is just one day away. A flurry of polls released over the weekend and early this week show that this year's race is a complete toss-up between President Bush (search) and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search).

Poll Watch

Many news organizations conducted last-minute polls in the campaign's final days. Here's a wrap.


FOX News/Opinion Dynamics: 48 percent of likely voters back Kerry, 46 percent Bush, 1 percent independent candidate Ralph Nader (search) and 5 percent are undecided, according to the poll released on Monday, which was conducted Oct. 30-31. Among registered voters, Kerry leads 47 percent to 45 percent, with Nader receiving 1 percent. Results among both likely voters and registered voters are within the poll's plus or minus three-percentage point margin of error.

Bush and Kerry both had 46 percent support in the FOX News tracking poll conducted Oct. 29-30. The tracking poll from Oct. 27-28 had Bush up 50 percent to Kerry's 45 percent.

A national poll conducted Oct. 31 by Marist University gives the Kerry-Edwards ticket 49 percent, compared to Bush-Cheney's 48 percent. Another 3 percent of the 987 likely voters surveyed are unsure.

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Bush has the edge in an MSNBC-Knight Ridder/Mason-Dixon poll, getting the backing of 49 percent of the battleground state to Kerry's 45 percent. Florida remains one of the biggest prizes on Tuesday, not just because it has 27 electoral votes to award, but because it was decisive to Bush's victory four years ago when he captured Florida by 537 votes.

Bush's lead is even bigger, according to a Quinnipiac poll of 1,098 likely Florida voters, which gives the president 51 percent, Kerry 43 percent, Ralph Nader 1 percent and 5 percent undecided. That poll was conducted Oct. 27-31.


Two polls, two results and to the victor goes seven electoral votes.

A Selzer & Co.-Des Moines Register poll of 806 likely voters, conducted Oct. 25-29, gave Kerry 48 percent to Bush's 45 percent. Nader got 1 percent, while another 6 percent were unsure. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted for MSNBC-Knight-Ridder Oct. 26-29 found that Bush-Cheney had 49 percent support, Kerry-Edwards 44 percent, while another 7 percent were unsure. That survey polled 625 likely voters in the state that Al Gore won in 2000 by 0.3 percent of a point.


Two polls of Michigan voters show the Kerry-Edwards camp ahead by only two percentage points in the state that offers 17 electoral votes. Gore won this state by 5.2 percentage points in 2000.

A Mason-Dixon poll of 626 likely voters conducted Oct. 26-29 for MSNBC-Knight-Ridder gave Kerry-Edwards 47 percent and Bush-Cheney 45 percent. The Nader-Camejo ticket got 1 percent while another 8 percent were unsure. Meanwhile, a Mitchell Communication-Detroit News poll conducted Oct. 26-28 of 600 likely voters gave Kerry 43 percent over Bush's 41 percent, Nader got 2 percent and 12 percent were unsure.


This state's 10 electoral votes also went to Gore four years ago. But a Mason-Dixon poll conducted Oct. 27-29 for MSNBC-Knight-Ridder gives Bush a slight lead there, with 48 percent to Kerry's 47 percent. Another 5 percent are unsure in the survey of 625 likely voters.


In this state that Bush won in 2000 by 3.3 percentage points, the Republican incumbent has 49 percent support over Kerry's 44 percent, according to a Mason-Dixon poll taken Oct. 26-29 for MSNBC-Knight Ridder. Of the 625 likely voters surveyed, another 7 percent were unsure. The Show Me State offers 11 electoral votes.


A Mason-Dixon poll conducted Oct. 26-29 for MSNBC-Knight-Ridder gives the Bush-Cheney camp 50 percent support over the 44 percent of the Kerry-Edwards camp. Another 6 percent of the 625 likely voters surveyed are unsure. That state offers five electoral votes; Bush won the state by 3.5 percentage points in 2000.

New Hampshire

Bush won the Granite State in 2000 by 1.3 percentage points but is trailing Kerry by one percentage point now, according to a Mason-Dixon poll taken Oct. 26-29 for MSNBC-Knight Ridder. Of the 625 likely voters surveyed, 47 percent support Kerry, 46 percent support Bush, 1 percent support Nader and 6 percent are unsure. The state offers four electoral votes.

New Jersey

In a state that surprisingly has turned into a near-battleground, Kerry-Edwards has 45 percent support, Bush-Cheney has 41 percent, Nader-Camejo has 2 percent and 12 percent are unsure, according to a poll of 740 likely voters conducted by The Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers from Oct. 27-29. The state's 15 electoral votes were won by Gore in 2000 by 15.8 percentage points.

A Quinnipiac poll of 984 likely voters, conducted Oct. 27-31, gives Kerry 48 percent support, compared to Bush's 43 percent, Nader's 2 percent and another 7 percent were unsure.

New Mexico

In this battleground state that offers five electoral votes, a Mason-Dixon poll conducted for various media outlets gives Bush 49 percent support over Kerry's 45 percent. Nader has 1 percent, while another 5 percent are undecided. That poll of 625 likely voters was taken Oct. 27-29. Gore won this state in 2000 by a mere 0.1 percent of a point.

A poll conducted Oct. 26-29 by Research & Polling Inc.-Albuquerque Journal of 1,140 likely voters gives Bush 47 percent to Kerry's 44 percent. Another 9 percent are unsure.


In what's viewed as the most important state to this election with its 20 electoral votes, Bush has 48 percent support, Kerry has 46 percent and another 6 percent are unsure, according to a Mason-Dixon poll conducted Oct. 26-29 for MSNBC-Knight Ridder. This poll surveyed 625 likely voters. Bush's lead has increased by one percentage point from an earlier poll by the same company, released in mid-October.

Another Ohio poll released by The Columbus Dispatch and taken Oct. 20-29 shows Bush and Kerry neck-and-neck with 50 percent support each. This poll surveyed 2,880 registered voters. A Columbus Dispatch poll a month ago gave Bush a seven-point lead over the Massachusetts senator.


Kerry has 50 percent support over Bush's 44 percent in Oregon, which Gore won in 2000 by 0.5 percent of a point, according to a Mason-Dixon poll conducted Oct. 26-29 for MSNBC-Knight-Ridder. Of the 625 likely voters surveyed, another 6 percent are unsure.


In this key battleground state with its 21 electoral votes, Kerry has 48 percent to Bush's 46 percent, according to a Mason-Dixon poll conducted Oct. 26-29 for MSNBC-Knight-Ridder. Of the 625 likely voters polled, another 6 percent were unsure. Kerry's lead grew by one percentage point within the last two weeks, according to this poll.

A Quinnipiac poll conducted Oct. 27-31 shows Bush and Kerry tied at 47 percent, while 6 percent of the 1,022 likely voters surveyed were unsure.

West Virginia

Bush is way ahead of Kerry in this state with its five electoral votes, with 51 percent to Kerry's 43 percent. Another 6 percent are unsure, according to a Mason-Dixon poll of 625 likely voters, conducted Oct. 26-29 for MSNBC-Knight Ridder. Bush won this state by 6.3 percentage points in 2000.


Kerry has 48 percent support to Bush's 46 percent, according to a poll of 625 likely Wisconsin voters, conducted Oct. 26-29 by Mason-Dixon for MSNBC-Knight Ridder. Nader got 1 percent support, while another 5 percent were unsure in a state that offers 10 electoral votes. Gore won this state by 0.2 percent of a point four years ago.

Bosox Star Stumps for Bush

Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (search) limped to the stage in Wilmington, Ohio, Monday morning in a surprise appearance to give Bush a strong endorsement.

Schilling won Game 2 of the World Series and Game 6 of the American League championship series with his ankle stitched to protect a torn sheath around a tendon. He was expected to undergo surgery this week, and had canceled an appearance with Bush on Friday.

He wore a protective boot over the ankle Monday as he and his wife made their way to the stage inside an airplane hangar.

The ace pitcher said Bush was a commander in chief who will ensure troops "have everything they need to get the job done, a leader who believes in their mission and honors their service, a leader who has the courage and the character to stay on the offense against terrorism until the war is won."

Bush stood next to him, and they embraced afterward.

"On Tuesday, we need you to get out and vote. We need you to get your friends and neighbors out to vote — tell them you're voting for President Bush and get them on board, too," Schilling said. "I know everybody wants to be on a winning team, and there's plenty of room on this bandwagon."

On Bush's Trail

Viva Bush

Addressing the Cuban population in Miami, Fla., on Sunday, Bush said that, if elected, over the next four years, "we will continue to press hard and ensure that the gift of freedom finally reaches the men and women of Cuba," as chants of "Viva Bush" filled the air. "We will not rest. We will keep the pressure on until the Cuban people enjoy the same freedoms in Havana they receive here in America. I strongly believe the people of Cuba should be free from the tyrant."

Cheney: Bush Doesn't Put His Finger in the Air

Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney, who flew to Hawaii for a quick campaign stop Sunday, poked fun at Kerry for his so-called flip-flopping on the war and how to best secure America. Word has it that Kerry, after a new videotape of Usama bin Laden surfaced on Friday, took a poll to decide what his reaction to the news should be.

"It's as though he doesn't know what he believes until he has to go and check the polls, his finger in the air, to see which way the wind is blowing and then he'll make a decision," said the vice president, who offered no evidence to back up his claim. "George Bush doesn't need a poll to know what he believes, especially about Usama bin Laden."

"I don't think that's a man who is up to the task of being commander in chief," Cheney said of Kerry.

The vice president is referring to a conference call sponsored by the Kerry campaign over the weekend with Democracy Corps' pollster Stanley Greenberg. Greenberg's firm associates are Kerry advisers Paul Begala and James Carville.

Greenberg asked: "I'm going to read you a paraphrased statement about the release of Bin Laden's videotape, please tell me what comes closer to your view: One, it makes me think that George W. Bush took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan and diverted his resources to Iraq; two, it underscores the importance of George Bush's approach to terrorism."

By ten points, 46 percent to 36 percent, voters responding to the survey agreed with the first statement, rather than the second.

On Kerry's Trail

For the fifth Sunday in a row, Kerry attended a black church in a battleground state. On Sunday, it was Shiloh Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio. A recent poll had Bush's support among blacks at 18 percent, double what he drew in the 2000 contest.

"We are going to work to do what we need to do to heal the wounds of country, to be one America, not just red states and blue states, but red white and blue for every single American. We're going to get the job done, help make this happen. Let's walk in the footsteps of the Lord," Kerry said.

Pumpkins and Pigs in a Blanket

Kerry also visited the Golden Nugget restaurant in Dayton, Ohio, where he shook hands with patrons. He also held up a pumpkin, which he has done before on the trail, but it's not clear what — if any — symbolism there is to that. He also ate pigs in blankets with restaurant patrons.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, former President Bill Clinton stumped for the Democratic candidate. Although Clinton's home state trends red — Bush got 51 percent support to Al Gore's 46 percent in 2000 — recent polls suggest it's still close.

Redskins Loss an Omen?

A possible omen for Election Day comes in the form of another Redskins loss on Sunday.

Since 1936, the outcome of the Redskins' last home game before the election has correctly predicted the winner of the election. Every time the Redskins have won, the incumbent party has also won. Likewise, every Washington loss has been matched by a victory by the challenging party.

On Sunday, the Redskins played the Green Bay Packers at home. Final score: Packers 28, Redskins 14.

Kerry expressed his pleasure with the Redskins' loss. "I thought the Red Sox curse erased everything. I'll take anything we can get. Yay, Packers.

"I think it's a good tradition to follow and I think the country should stick with tradition, don't you?" Kerry added.

However, the impact of athletes and sports teams may mean nothing. Though the Red Sox, Kerry's hometown team, ended their 86-year hiatus from winning the World Series last week, star pitcher Curt Schilling taped a recorded phone message for Bush, urging people to get out and vote on Tuesday.

In the message, Schilling says: "Hello. This is Curt Schilling of the World Champion Boston Red Sox. That sounds good, doesn't it? Well, I am calling on behalf of President Bush. These past couple of weeks, Sox fans all throughout New England trusted me when it was my turn on the mound. Now you can trust me on this: President Bush is the right leader for our country. Tuesday is Election Day. So, please join me in voting for President Bush."

Not to be beat, Kerry appeared at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., on Sunday with Red Sox owner John Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.

Perhaps He Found His Luggage

Before traveling from Miami to Tampa, FOX's lead reporter traveling with the Bush campaign spotted senior political adviser Karl Rove (search) excitedly running and hopping up the stairs of Air Force One. Later in the day, Rove told reporters he thinks Bush will win the popular vote and the Electoral College (search). However, Rove gave no indication that a connection could be made between the excited moment caught on camera and the adviser's latest comment to the press.

FOX News' Carl Cameron, Corbett Riner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.