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Poll: Bush Lead Vanishes After Debate - 2004-10-03

A new survey of American voters following the first debate of the presidential campaign indicates President Bush has lost his slight lead over Sen. John Kerry, his Democratic Party challenger.

Results of an opinion poll conducted for Newsweek magazine survey released Saturday shows Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry are now in a statistical dead heat little more than four weeks before the Nov. 2 election.

The survey shows Mr. Kerry leading the race by 2 percentage points, 47 percent to 45 percent. But with an estimated margin of error of plus-or-minus four points, the two candidates are in a virtual tie.

The new poll surveyed voters after the candidates' foreign-policy debate on Thursday, which concentrated on the war in Iraq. Most voters who watched the debate said they felt Sen. Kerry came out a winner in the exchange with President Bush.

Mr. Bush enjoyed a traditional "bounce" in the polls after the Republican Party enthusiastically nominated him for a second term last month. The president led Mr. Kerry by 11 percentage points four weeks ago, but that margin has steadily evaporated.