Both camps say Kerry had the most to gain from the debates--and did. But with two weeks to go, the race is still neck-and-neck. Forget everything that's happened so far. Only the last lap matters now.
Local polls: Kerry needs to keep Iowa from slipping into W's column: if Fla. goes Red, he'll likely require this state's 7 electors to reach 270. Gov. Tom Vilsack is a key ally, but Bush can count on incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley for support.
Big Issues: All four candidates swooped into the Hawkeye State late last week crowing about their health-care plans. Why? Iowa's huge senior population demands cheaper drugs--and it has a long history of showing up at the polls.
Game Plans: Get out the vote. The Dems are focusing on absentee balloting, which lifted Gore to a 0.3% victory here in '00; the GOP is flooding the state with some 20,000 volunteers.
Even though one Oct. poll gives Bush a 9-point lead here, GOP strategists acknowledge that the Centennial State is closer than they'd once thought. BC04 says the president will continue to visit.
In Sept., Bush built up a 10-point lead; after Miami, it dwindled to 3. The latest poll, taken before Tempe, has Kerry ahead by 4.
On Oct. 6, Kerry led by 8; now it's tied. Aiming to swing the state his way (or just force KE04 to defend its turf), W stumps here for the first time this Monday.
Forty-four of the top 50 ad markets fall within only 10 states. Toledo, which took the heaviest fire, saw 14,273 TV spots between March and late Sept.
Both camps hit Nev., N.M., Colo., Iowa, Ariz., Ore., Wis., Fla.