ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

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 Senator 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 Senator 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.

"The Kerry camp, we hear, is reinforcing their Wisconsin ground troops with new staff, press people, communications staff in each media market, and some more TV ad dollars and black radio — and they have their work cut out for them. Asked if they were sure about their vote, 81 percent of registered voters said they were pretty sure, and 13 percent said they might change their minds. Among likelies, the numbers are 82 percent sure to 12 percent could change."

Registered Wisconsin voters in the Badger poll gave Bush a 54 percent favorable rating and a 38 percent unfavorable rating. Kerry's fav/unfav numbers are 36/48.

Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel rounds up all of the latest polls in Wisconsin, from the ABC News poll, the Badger Poll, and the Gallup poll showing Bush leading Kerry by double digits, but also polls by American Research Group, Mason-Dixon and Zogby showing a 2-point race. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Sharon Schmickle gives Twin Cities readers analysis of Vietnam's impact on this election. LINK

That's right, so Vietnam is still lingering in at least one target state …

Senator Kerry's Social Security comments also got play in Minnesota. LINK

Just as Kerry-Edwards was pulling ads out of Arizona yesterday, Teresa Heinz Kerry was out there "wowing" the crowd (according to the headline on the Arizona Republic story) and breaking fundraising records for state-party events in the state. LINK

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