By Kim Hibbs
(KSDK) — President Bush and John Kerry are statistically tied in the race for president in Missouri according to our exclusive Survey USA.
In a poll taken earlier this week of 660 likely voters, 48 percent of those polled would vote for President Bush, 46 percent for John Kerry.
Of those who said they would vote for the president, 80 percent said it was because they support him, 19 percent said it was a vote against John Kerry.
On the other side, 56 percent of those who said they would vote for Kerry consider it a vote against President Bush while 41 percent call it a vote for Kerry.
The survey has a 4 percent margin of error.
However, the results are quite different in a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll. Registered voters in Missouri favored President Bush at 55 percent and John Kerry at just 41 percent.
Why do two surveys have sharply different results?
Jay Leve, editor of Survey USA, believes it's because the Gallop poll was conducted over the Labor Day weekend, a couple of days before Survey USA's poll, "Gallup does excellent work and I don't want to say anything that disputes that. We've made the judgment not to poll anywhere over the Labor Day weekend anywhere, including Missouri. It's a holiday for a lot of working people and a lot of working families go away. It may be the case that a poll conducted entirely over the weekend picked up a few more Republicans than it should of. I'm not saying that it did or didn't happen. We just don't think the state is quite as Republican both at the top of the ticket for president of the United States or down the ticket for governor or United States senator."
Democratic Congressman Dick Gephardt and Republican Senator Jim Talent say the closeness of the race is no surprise.
Senator Talent said, "I've always tended to, in my races or other races, to concentrate on the final poll, which is election day and that's the one that matters."
Congressman Gephardt said, "It's a dead heat. It has been a dead heat in Missouri. It's going to be a dead heat right down to the wire."
Another close race in Missouri that's likely to be one of the most-watched across the country is that for governor.
Our exclusive Survey St. Louis poll shows Republican Matt Blunt and Democrat Clair McCaskill are virtually tied.
McCaskill has made gains on Blunt in the past month, climbing from 44 percent to 47 percent, while Blunt has dropped one point to 48 percent.
Both squared off in a debate Friday in Springfield, Missouri.
Candidates for Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State and Attorney General also attended Friday's forum, as well as those for U.S. Senate. In that race, Senator Kit Bond has a comfortable lead in the November race.
According to our Survey St. Louis poll, Democrat Nancy Farmer trails Republican Kit Bond by 20 percent.
If the election were today, 57 percent of those polled say they would chose Bond, 37 percent, Farmer.