10/20/2004 - As the campaign heads into its final stages, the presidential race is again extremely close. The Pew Research Center survey of 1,307 registered voters, conducted Oct. 15-19,2004, finds President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry tied at 45 percent - 45 percent among registered voters, and 47 percent - 47 percent among likely voters. These findings represent a gain in support for the Democratic challenger since early October, when he trailed the president among both likely and registered voters.
Kerry's gains in the horse race are tied more to an improving personal image than to growing strength on the issues. In particular, the Democratic challenger has virtually erased Bush's advantage for honesty and having good judgment in a crisis. Kerry is again seen as the more empathetic candidate, an advantage he held earlier in the campaign but lost after the Republican convention. Bush continues to lead by significant but narrowing margins as the stronger leader and as the candidate more willing to take an unpopular stand on the issues.
Read the full report Race Tightens Again, Kerry's Image Improves on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.