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Michigan Remains a Battleground State in 2004

The state of Michigan and its 17 electoral votes are up for grabs between President Bush and his Democratic opponent, John Kerry.

Four years after former Vice President Al Gore narrowly carried Michigan, the state is again one of about 20 states considered a "battleground" in this year's race for the White House.

Opinion polls show Mr. Kerry holding a slight lead in the state, in part because of its high unemployment rate. Michigan has lost close to 200,000 jobs since Mr. Bush took office in 2001, including thousands of manufacturing jobs.

But Mr. Bush is not giving up on Michigan, having visited the state dozens of times since taking office. He's been concentrating his efforts in rural areas outside of the Democratic stronghold of Detroit, as he courts so-called "Reagan Democrats." These blue-collar voters strongly supported former President Reagan in 1980 and 1984.

President Bush is hoping his stance on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion will help him with voters.

A state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage will appear on the same ballot as the presidential race in November.