*17 "key battleground" states that were cited by the campaigns and other observers earlier this year. Alabama Capital Survey Research Center/Alabama Education Association. Oct. 12-14, 2004. N=546 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 4.2: Bush 56% Kerry 32% Nader 1% Unsure 11%
Colorado Note: Colorado will vote on a ballot initiative that would split its nine electoral votes proportionately. It is written to apply to this election, but if passed, there may be a legal battle over that provision.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for Knight Ridder and MSNBC. Oct. 26-29, 2004. N=625 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 4:
Bush 50% Kerry 43% Other 2% Unsure 5%
Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates (D) for the League of Conservation Voters. Oct. 20-21, 2004. N=400 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 4.9:
Bush 48% Kerry 48% Nader 1% Unsure 4%
Ciruli Associates for The Pueblo Chieftain. Oct. 15-19, 2004. N=600 voters statewide. MoE ± 4:
Delaware WHYY/West Chester University Poll. Sept. 22-25, 2004. N=590 registered voters statewide; excludes registered voters who said they "will probably not vote" this November. MoE ± 3.9: Bush 38% Kerry 45% Nader 1% Other 1% Unsure 16%
Illinois Research 2000 for WEEK-TV and The Pantagraph News. Oct. 27-28, 2004. N=600 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 4 (for all likely voters): Bush 40% Kerry 54% Badnarik 1% Unsure 5% Note; Nader not on ballot
Research 2000 for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV. Oct. 21-23, 2004. N=800 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 3.5:: Bush 41% Kerry 53% Unsure 6%
Market Shares Corp. for The Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV. Oct. 16-19, 2004. N=700 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 4 (for all likely voters): Bush 42% Kerry 50% Other 1% Unsure 7%
South Dakota McLaughlin & Associates for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Oct. 21-24, 2004. N=400 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 4.9: Bush 55% Kerry 33% Nader 2% Unsure 11% Note: South Dakota last went Democratic in 1964
Polls, Methodology and the Interactive Map The U.S. presidential election is decided by the results of 51 electoral vote contests. In all states except Maine and Nebraska the electoral votes go to the winner of the popular vote in a "winner-take-all" system. (Colorado is considering an initiative to create proportional distribution of its electoral vote in November.) Thus, trends in the campaign must be considered on a state-by-state basis.
The initial setting of the pop-up flash interactive map is colored red or blue if either candidate in the latest major poll has a lead at outside the margin of error. The state is white if the lead is inside the margin of error, indicated by "swing" above or "Up for Grabs" on the map. Poll data are provided by PollingReport.com; only polls with methodologies that meet its standards are used. The initial setting also shows a recent national poll for reference, but note that the national vote does not determine the winner. PollingReport.com lists national polls on the free section of its site; see link at the top right of this page.
The Times' map does not attempt to indicate states that are "leaning" one way or another or make conclusions about trends from a series of polls. The map is based only on the most recent major poll. In a few cases, we've included other recent polls above.
Polls are a snapshot in time; changes are expected. Notes below each state may indicate a second poll taken within a few weeks or another relevant factor. The campaigns, The Times and other observers initially identified 17 key battleground states that are indicated with an asterik in the first list of states at the top of this page. Since the summer, some observers have changed the list of major battleground states.
The poll data presented here are from probability-sample surveys, conducted by telephone using live interviewers. Usually, surveys of likely presidential election voters are used. However, users should be aware that polling organizations screen for "likely" voters in different ways. All use various combinations of three criteria: Voting history, interest in the election and stated intention to vote. But variations in the results of different surveys are to be expected. For example, some organizations will never use a first-time voter in a poll because they have no voting history while others may include them if their answers to certain screening questions indicate they are interested in the election.
In addition, some organizations weight their results to conform to specific proportions of political party identification (sometimes based on past turnout or other polls that ask about party identification), while others consider that variable to be too changeable to use as a weight.
In some cases, polls that have been reported in the news media are not included here because details of the survey methodology are unavailable.
When a poll has asked presidential preferences both with and without Ralph Nader, the survey that includes Ralph Nader is used. If Nader ultimately does not qualify for a state's ballot, however, the survey without him will be used. Other third-party candidates will be on this page if they had at least one percent in the poll but added to "undecided" on the map, due to space constraints.
Some polls used name the vice presidential candidates and some do not. Full details are available from PollingReport.com.
The map, its colors and all notes are by latimes.com. Only the reported polling data comes from PollingReport.com.
On the initial setting of the map, white states are within the latest polls' stated margin of error (MoE ±). ( Definitions of margin of error. ) "Bush" states are states with red and "Kerry" states are blue.
Comments may appear as you roll over states.
(R) or (D) sometimes appears to indicate that the polling organization is often associated with one party or the other.
About U.S. Senate Map: There are 33 contests for seats in the U.S. Senate in November. In a 34th race, the Idaho Republican, Mike Crapo, is running unopposed. Louisana runs an "open primary" that allows all candidates to run in one election. There is one Republican candidate and several Democratic candidates. If one candidate does not receive a majority, there will be a run-off election in December.
The Senate Poll Tracker map follows the same methodology as the presidential poll map. Details on the Senate polls are on the rather than on this page. Third-party candidates with significant polling numbers are indicated on the map as well. Note that there are fewer polls taken in Senate races. In the initial color pattern of the map,there are a few cases of races without polls where we have followed a broad range of opinion that an incumbent will be re-elected.
Electoral Vote Changes for 2004 After the 2000 census, seats in the House of Representatives were reallocated based on new population trends. Electoral votes are based on those numbers. Here are the changes for 2004 from 2000:
Gained Electoral Votes: Arizona (+2); Florida (+2); Georgia (+2); Texas (+2); California (+1); Colorado (+1); Nevada (+1); North Carolina (+1).
Lost Electoral Votes: New York (-2); Pennsylvania (-2); Connecticut (-1); Indiana (-1); Illinois (-1); Michigan (-1); Mississippi (-1); Ohio (-1); Oklahoma (-1); Wisconsin (-1).
Libertarian Michael Badnarik appears to be safely on the ballot in all states except Oklahoma. Green Party candidate David Cobb is likely to be on about 30 state ballots and Constitution Party candidate Michael Anthonty Peroutka is likely to be on about 40 state ballots. Of these, Badnarik has had as much as one percent in state polls covered by this page since June in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and New Mexico. Peroutka has polled one percent in Montana.
There are other third-party candidates as well, but they are on fewer state ballots. According to Ballot Access News, the Socialist Party (Walt Brown) is on in Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Wisconsin; the Socialist Equality Party (Bill Van Auken) is on in Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Washington; the Prohibition Party (Gene Amondsen) is on in Colorado and Louisiana; and the Workers World Party (John Parker) is on in Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Ralph Nader is often included in polls this election season and garners above one percent routinely. However, Nader appears qualified for 35 states compared to 43 in 2000.
Nader status: Although some legal battles will continue beyond the election, as of Oct. 26, 2004:
Nader appears to be permanently blocked from the ballot in Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
Nader appears to be qualified for the ballot in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakoka, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The Reform Party endorsed Nader, which enabled him to skip some petition drives. However, litigation and battles within the Reform Party kept him off the Reform Party line in some states. The Green Party, endorsed him in 2000.
In states where Ralph Nader is not on a party ticket, his campaign had to file independent petitions to appear on the ballot.
About "PollingReport.com" PollingReport.com publishes data from opinion polls of the American public. Many surveys are available at no cost at its website, pollingreport.com.
Additional data (including state-by-state presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial polls), plus analyses by leading pollsters, are available to subscribers. An introductory one-year subscription costs $95 and includes access to its subscriber web site, plus its twice-a-month newsletter. For details, see: www.pollingreport.com/nletter.htm.