Swing State Watch

Some polls have Bush pulling away; others show the race tightening up. But campaign insiders give him a 3- to 5- point edge. With W taking to the trail in key Blue States, the ball is in Kerry's court.

Local polls: W won in '00, but the Battle Born State is now a battleground. The proof? All 4 candidates visited last week for the first time in Nevada history.
Big Issues: The environment could swing the vote. Most Nevadans oppose W's plan to use Yucca Mtn. as a nuclear-waste dump, and experts say that Kerry's pledge to reverse the project is what's keeping him competitive.
Game Plans: Nevada has America's highest percentage of activated Guard members, so expect both sides to target military families. A new DNC ad accuses the GOP of failing to fully equip troops or rotate them on schedule.

Thanks to lackluster economic news--245,000 jobs lost under Bush, high unemployment rate--it's one of the few states where Kerry's gained ground in September.

It's all but in the bag for Bush, who led by 3 after Kerry's convention but now enjoys a 16-point advantage. KE04, which spent $3.9 million here earlier in the year, has stopped running ads.

With Jeanne spinning out to sea and the skies clearing up, there's sun in W's forecast: a new poll puts him ahead by 6, and Nader is back on the ballot.

Ad Buys: BC04 upped spending in 4 Gore states (Mich., Pa., Minn., N.M.), while cutting back in Mo. and Ariz.; KE04 zeroed in on 8 states, down from 20 in July.
Campaign Stops: Both camps hit Mich., Nev., W.Va. and N.M. KE04 toured Wis., Ohio, Ariz., Ore.; BC04: Ark., Colo., Minn.