More from the WSJ and their excellent election coverage. Their most recent State by State analysis shows the race tightening:
“President Bush continues to gain on John Kerry among likely voters in 16 battleground states, according to the latest Zogby Interactive poll. Mr. Bush now leads in seven states, up from the five states he held two weeks ago.
The leads Messrs. Bush and Kerry hold in 12 of the 16 states are within the margin of error, which varies between +/- 2.5 and +/- 4.5 percentage points. Each candidate leads in two of the four states outside the margin of error. (For analysis of how this could play out in the Electoral College, see: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-battleground04-an0621.html)
The latest poll, conducted June 15-20, puts the president ahead of the Massachusetts senator nationwide. Presuming that all the states go to the current leading candidates and that the other 34 states go as they did in the 2000 election, Mr. Bush would get 285 electoral votes and Mr. Kerry would get 253.
Battleground States Map
Click for Larger Map
Graphic Source: WSJ
The Journal surmises reasons for the incumbent’s recent gains:
“Possibly building on Republican support due to improving economic conditions and amid national observances of the death of former President Reagan, Mr. Bush added Florida, Michigan, Nevada and West Virginia to his side of the tally, while Mr. Kerry picked up Arkansas and New Mexico. Mr. Bush now leads in seven of the battleground states, which collectively have 96 electoral votes. Mr. Kerry is ahead in the remaining nine, which have 81 electoral votes.
Ralph Nader made his best showing yet in the Zogby Interactive battleground-state polls, with 4.4% of likely voters in Nevada backing the independent candidate, catapulting Mr. Bush ahead of Mr. Kerry in the state. Mr. Nader’s share remained below 2.5% in all other states. Mr. Nader is not officially on the ballot in Nevada.”