ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The Philadelphia Inquirer's team of Thomma and Kuhnhenn report that Kerry has a problem with women. LINK

Wisconsin is proving an uphill battle for the Kerry campaign, both in terms of image and organization, according to two new surveys.

The new ABC News poll of Wisconsin, conducted Sept. 16-19, brings good news for President Bush, whose Badger State ground game is proving impressive in contacting voters and painting a positive picture of him as a leader and the person to handle terrorism and homeland security.

Bush leads Sen. Kerry 53 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, and Ralph Nader — currently on the ballot there — gets 1 percent (54 percent to 44 percent in a head-to-head matchup). Among registered voters, the numbers break down 50-44-2 with Nader in the mix, and 51-45 with just Bush and Kerry. LINK

Registered voters are 6 points more likely to have been contacted by BC04 than by KE04, the poll shows — 25 to 19 percent. Sixty percent of those who have gotten Bush calls are supporters, whereas Kerry enjoys the support of fewer than half of those his campaign has reached.

Iraq, however, remains a sticking point in Wisconsin; about half of registered voters say the war in Iraq wasn't worth fighting, and a bare majority (51 percent) is dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, reports ABC News' Dalia Sussman.

Kerry scores best on the economy, but as opposed to last week's Pennsylvania poll, which showed him 8 points ahead on economic issues, Kerry runs even with Bush in terms of who voters trust to handle them. "More cite the economy than any other issue as most important in their vote, and Kerry leads on two economic measures — in trust to handle 'creating jobs' and 'helping the middle class.' Kerry also leads Bush by 49-40 percent in trust to handle health care, an issue that's on par with terrorism in its importance to voters," Sussman reports.

Bush's biggest strengths, according to the survey, are his personal attributes — by wide margins, voters say he's a stronger leader (60 percent to Kerry's 32 percent), can make the country safer, and is clearer in his positions. Bush also leads by 10 to 15 points as the candidate with the more appealing personality, as a better commander-in-chief and on honesty. Bush's fav/unfav: 52/39. Kerry's fav/unfav: 37/43. Bush leads among men by 17 points, and Kerry leads among women by 4.

Dems remain strong in the Senate race, however. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold leads his challenger, construction executive and former Army officer Tim Michels, 51 percent to 45 percent, and claims support among nearly 60 percent of women.

There's also a new Badger Poll out today, showing a tough road for Sen. Kerry — and similar numbers to the ABC News poll.

Bush leads Kerry by 13 points — 47-34 among registered voters, with 3 for Nader, and 48-35-3 among likelies. The survey, conducted Sept. 16-21 by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center at the University of Wisconsin Madison and sponsored by the Capital Times and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, showed Bush scoring 30 points higher than Kerry on consistency in his positions among both registered and likely voters, and more than 40 points higher on handling terrorism. Kerry pulled even with Bush on handling the economy and dealing with the budget.

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