Trailing in Polls, Kerry Tries New Strategy

The Kerry team is clearly banking on domestic issues. In a new $50 million advertising campaign, Kerry's camp launched a series of new TV ads Friday that will stalk the president as he hops through six battleground states — Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. All of the ads discuss domestic issues — including health insurance in Ohio, manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin and the coal industry in West Virginia. A new poll from Newsweek magazine indicates that Kerry is the clear underdog in the race. A Newsweek poll taken immediately after the convention has Bush leading Kerry 54 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, essentially confirming a similar double-digit lead for the president revealed in a Time magazine poll taken during the convention, showing Bush up 52 percent to 41 percent.

A Kerry campaign official said the Democrats always expected an eight- to 10-point bounce for the president after his convention. The official noted that they had a minimal advertising presence on television during the month of August, but also acknowledged that the month was not a particularly good one for the campaign.

One of the few dollops of good news for Kerry in the Newsweek poll is that 49 percent of those polled were dissatisfied with the way things are going in this country, as opposed to 43 percent who are satisfied. In a naked attempt to appeal to that plurality, Kerry said to the Akron crowd today that, "If you believe America is going in the wrong direction, John Edwards and I ask you to join us for change."

ABC News' Drew Millhon and Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.

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