ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

"Regardless of who is shadowing whom, the overlapping appearances reflect the unusually taut nature of this presidential race and the relatively limited number of states that are truly in play with just 82 days left until the election."

The New York Times ' David Sanger turns in a spot-on must-read outline of Senator Kerry's efforts to explain his Iraq vote with nuance, and President Bush's goading that called him on the carpet to do so. And while Bush sometimes sounds defensive, Sanger Notes, Kerry has taken the bait. LINK "It is a problem that has dogged Mr. Kerry since he walked through the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire, and suffered the barbs of Vermont's former governor, Howard Dean, who made Mr. Kerry's vote to authorize action an issue. Now Mr. Bush has taken up where Dr. Dean left off."

The Chicago Sun-Times' Debra Pickett writes up a study by two political science professors from Michigan State who claim that more people who are worried about terrorism are likely to support Senator Kerry than President Bush. They'll present their study to the American Political Science Association meeting in Chicago on Sept. 2. LINK Jeff Zeleny and Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune look at the dueling trips out West by the presidential candidates this week. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Kathleen Hennessey takes a look at the targeting of unreliable voters. LINK

"Typically referred to as nonvoters, unregistered and infrequent voters were often ignored by pollsters and strategists, who preferred to invest time and dollars reaching the voters who were most likely to show up at the polls on election day."

"With polls in key states deadlocked, campaign bank accounts flush and most likely voters leaning toward a candidate, the two major parties and like-minded groups say they are willing to look for new targets."

The Washington Post 's Thomas Edsall reports: "A group financed by a major Republican contributor has begun running radio ads in about a dozen cities, many in battleground states, attacking Senator John F. Kerry as "rich, white and wishy-washy" and mocking his wife for boasting of her African roots." LINK But the buy so far, Edsall reports, is only $70,000.

ABC News Vote 2004: The Big Four: Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin: Quinnipiac Florida numbers out this morning: Kerry 47 Bush 41 Nader 4

Aug. 5-10 — 1,094 registered voters — +/- 3% margin of error

Bush's favorables went down (as did his approval rating) since the June poll, Kerry's went up. On issues — Kerry outperforms Bush on the job he would do with the economy and health care. And as we've also seen elsewhere, Bush outperforms Kerry on handling terrorism (50-41) and statistically insignificantly edges out the Democrat on Iraq (48-45).

Q-poll June 29 numbers: Kerry 43 Bush 43 Nader 5

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