News and Information

US rivals make closing arguments
November 1, 2004
George W Bush and John Kerry have begun a frantic last day of a US presidential race that remains too close to call.

After campaigning across thousands of miles and scores of rallies, the main rivals will be just three streets and one hour apart in Wisconsin on Monday.

It is one of the key states that could be won by either man and that could affect the overall election result.

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says neither candidate can be sure of a win, and the last day may be decisive.

President Bush started the final day before the vote in Ohio, another state where even a narrow majority would give the winner the state's entire set of Electoral College votes that are used to pick the president.

A vote for his ticket, he told an early-morning crowd in Wilmington, was a vote for "a safer America and a stronger America and a better America".

Map showing where Bush and Kerry are campaigning on 1 November

Election result timetable
Q&A: Electoral College
Bush speech
Later, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the incumbent president said he had "the finish line in sight".

Our correspondent says that the campaigns of both candidates have been expensive, energetic, at times aggressive, often negative but also singularly unsuccessful.

When they began, the two contenders were roughly even in the polls and that is where they have ended, he says.

Whoever wins, the top man will be heartily disliked and mistrusted by half of America, our correspondent notes.

Back-to-back rallies

Senator Kerry started his day in Florida - the swing state narrowly won by Mr Bush in 2000 that gave him the election.

John Kerry holds baby Brianna McElroy, 6 months, after Mass in Orlando

African observer
World press cynical
The Democrat told supporters it was time to "take this thing and finish it off and get the job done".

"This is not a day or a moment for a long speech," he said. "You know why you're here and you know the job we have to get done in the last hours."

The world, he said, was watching and all of America's hopes and dreams were "on the line".

He was to go on to Milwaukee in Wisconsin where he is scheduled to speak just an hour after Mr Bush appeals to voters in the same city.

In total, the two main candidates and their running mates will attend 22 events in 13 states on Monday.

Under US electoral law, they and the third-party candidates also vying for the White House are allowed to campaign until midnight local time on Monday.

75%: percentage of those in an ABC poll who thought it was the most important election of their lives
$272,573,444: Amount raised by President George W Bush (correct as of 13 October)
$249,305,109: Amount raised by Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry (correct as of 13 October)
43,256: Number of times adverts were run from 21 to 27 October
$46,367,413: Total amount spent on adverts from 21 to 27 October
208-169: US newspaper endorsements for Mr Kerry and President Bush (correct as of 31 October)
28-14: loss by Washington Redskins football team - since 1936, a loss in their last home game before the election has been followed by victory for the challenger
Mr Bush's aides say he will vote in his home town of Crawford, Texas, on election day before meeting campaign volunteers in Columbus, Ohio, and returning to the White House.

Latest opinion polls show the race tied, or Mr Bush with a slight lead, but this could be offset by results in the swing states.

Analysts believe the tight race in Ohio - which has 20 electoral college votes up for grabs - may prove the decider.

The victor there has won the White House in every vote since 1964 - and no Republican has ever won without it.

Both camps were wrapping up their campaigns with a record number of last-minute advertisements.

A record number of people have also been voting early across the country, including nearly two million voters in Florida.


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