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Polls: Bush ahead in Missouri, Ohio

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America Votes 2004

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush leads Democratic challenger John Kerry among likely voters in Missouri and Ohio, according to recent polls of four battleground states released Wednesday.

In Washington, Kerry was ahead of Bush among likely voters, and in Pennsylvania the race appeared to be a toss-up.

All four CNN/USA Today/Gallup polls, conducted in the days following last week's Republican National Convention, had margins of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Respondents were asked their choice for president if the election were held now.

The Missouri poll found Bush leading Kerry among likely voters 55 percent to 41 percent. In Ohio he was ahead 52 percent to 44 percent.

In Missouri among registered voters, the race was slightly closer, with 53 percent for Bush and 42 percent preferring Kerry.

Among registered voters in Ohio, it was about even, with 48 percent favoring Bush and 47 percent choosing Kerry -- within the margin of error.

In the Missouri poll, conducted between Friday and Monday, 831 registered voters were interviewed, including 686 respondents who indicated they were likely to vote.

The Ohio survey of 794 registered voters, including 661 who indicated they were likely to vote, was conducted Saturday through Tuesday.

The results were an improvement for Bush over polls taken in July and August.

A July poll of likely voters in Missouri found Bush and Kerry tied at 48 percent. In an August poll in Ohio, the race appeared to be about even, with 48 percent for Kerry and 46 for Bush.

Missouri has 11 electoral votes and Ohio has 20. Bush carried each by 3-point margins in 2000.

Democrats hope to pluck Ohio from the Republican column in November. Kerry visited the state six times in the past week.

In the Pennsylvania poll, Kerry and Bush were about even among likely voters -- 47 percent and 48 percent respectively. The result was unchanged from an August poll in the same state.

The survey of 881 registered voters, including 718 who indicated they were likely to vote, was conducted Saturday through Tuesday.

Bush lost the state, which will cast 21 votes in the Electoral College, to Al Gore by 4 percentage points in 2000.

In Washington, another state that went for Gore, Kerry led Bush 52 percent to 44 percent among likely voters.

The poll was conducted of 808 registered voters, including 646 who indicated they were likely to vote, Friday through Monday. Washington has 11 electoral votes.

Among registered voters in Pennsylvania, Bush and Kerry were evenly split with 47 percent each. In Washington, Kerry also led among registered voters by 8 percentage points, 51 percent to 43 percent.

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