And the race is on ... The Labor Day holiday is the traditional start of the campaign season even though the two major party candidates have been going at each other for quite awhile. But since from this point on things are going to probably get even more heated, let's take a look at the state of the race.
Right now, most Web sites watching the Electoral College see a Bush lead:
Republican David Wissing has the race Bush 308, Kerry 233: [THR Poll Watch].
The Democratic Electoral Projection site has it Bush 288, Kerry 250: ["Sept. 5"].
Over at the Swing State Project, a Democratic blog, Chris has it Bush 284, Kerry 254: ["General Election Cattle Call, Sept. 4"].
The Electoral College Predictor has it Bush 275, Kerry 247: ["Sept. 6"].
Samboni has it Bush 264, Kerry 258, 16 undecided: ["Sept. 2"].
At this point, all the EC predictors have Bush leading. This is a change from the last few months which have shown slight Kerry leads.
New state polls have seen a shift in the numbers. Let's look at some of the swing states:
Florida: Bush has a slight lead according to an Aug. 30 poll released by Strategic Vision - Bush 48, Kerry 44, Nader 2, Undecided 6. If Nader weren't on the ballot, Kerry would still lose: Bush 48, Kerry 45, Undecided 7. This is a 3-point drop for Kerry over SV's poll from 10 days ago. When asked, 63 percent of voters said they were familiar with the Swiftboat controversy with 51 percent saying they thought the allegations were credible and could be true. Nader will be on the ballot in Florida.
Iowa: An Aug. 30 SV poll has it tied - Bush and Kerry at 47, Nader 2, Undecided 4. Without Nader, Kerry has a 1-point lead: 48, Bush 47, Undecided 5. Nader is on the ballot but the SV poll doesn't offer any other specific data about the respondents. On the Swiftboat controversy, 71 percent knew about the allegations with 44 percent saying they thought the allegations were credible and could be true.
Michigan: An Aug. 30 SV poll has a slight Kerry lead - 48, Bush 45, Nader 3, Undecided 10. Without Nader, Kerry has a 5-point lead: 47, Bush 42, Undecided 11. Over the last two polls, Nader has gained a point while Kerry lost a point. It looks like Nader will be on the ballot despite efforts by Democrats suing to keep him off. On the Swiftboat issue, 60 percent had heard about it with 42 percent finding it credible and could be true.
Minnesota: An Aug. 30 SV poll has it Kerry 47, Bush 46, Nader 1, 6 Undecided. Without Nader, Kerry strangely gains 2-points: Kerry 49, Bush 46, Undecided 5. Nader has until Sept. 14 to submit 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot. Sixty-two percent have heard about the Swiftboat issue, with 45 percent believing it to be credible and could be true.
New Mexico: Research and Polling Inc. of Albuquerque for the Albuquerque Journal released a poll Sept. 5 showing a Bush lead: Bush 45, Kerry 42, David Cobb of the Green Party 1, Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party 1, Nader 1, Undecided 8. One said "None of the Above." Kerry received the support of 6 percent of Republicans. Two Democrats and 1 Republican said they were voting for Nader. The number of Democrats voting for Bush - a number that has been very high in past New Mexico polls - were not listed.
Ohio: SV released a poll Aug. 30 showing Bush with a wider lead: Bush 48, Kerry 42, Nader 1, Undecided 9. Without Nader, Kerry gains a point: Bush 47, Kerry 42, Undecided 9. Sixty-three percent heard about the Swiftboat group with 48 percent believing it to be credible and could be true.
Pennsylvania: Another SV released a poll Aug. 30 showing Bush with a slim lead: Bush 47, Kerry 45, Nader 1, Undecided 7. Sixty-seven percent heard about the Swiftboat group with 43 percent believing it to be credible and could be true.
Wisconsin: An Aug. 30 SV poll showed Bush with a slim lead: Bush 48, Kerry 46, Nader 2, Undecided 4. Without Nader, Kerry gains a point. Signatures are due in the state on Tuesday. Seventy-one percent heard about the Swiftboat group with 49 percent believing it to be credible and could be true.
In other states, the polls remain as expected:
In Alabama, Bush has a solid lead: Bush 54 percent, Kerry 34, Undecided/No reply 9 percent. Kerry received 93 percent of the black vote.
In Georgia, Bush has a clear lead: Bush 55, Kerry 36, Nader 1, with 8 Undecided. Since Nader won't be on the ballot in Georgia, the results would be closer to the non-Nader poll: Bush 55, Kerry 38, Undecided 7. This is a 2-point drop for Kerry compared to polling from 12 days ago. Despite being from a neighboring state and being a southernor, John Edwards is no help to Kerry in the poll. When asked who is better qualified to be president, Cheney beats Edwards 48 to 38. Sixty-five percent said they were familiar with the Swiftboat controversy with 54 percent saying the allegations were credible and could be true.
Plus this: Guess who's taking Republican money now?: ["The Hypocrites of TheNaderbasher.com"]. And this: ["Why keep Nader off? Exactly!"].