Bush, Kerry Head-to-Head in US Exit Polls
Following months of rallies, speeches and media interviews, President George Bush and his rival for the White House, Democrat John Kerry have focused their final days before Tuesday's election on the less glamorous but crucial task of getting their supporters to the polls.
Record-breaking participation in early-voting programs and predictions of unprecedented high turnout have appeared to be the most characteristic of November 2 polls.
According to estimates by Curtis Gans with the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, 58% to 68% of eligible voters - between 120 million and 130 million voters - will cast ballots. That would represent a level of participation not seen since 1968.
Senator John F. Kerry cast his vote at the State House in his hometown of Boston around 1 p.m. local time. "America is a strong country and I think it can be stronger, but that's up to the American people," he said.
President Bush cast his vote in Crawford, Texas, early on Tuesday at the Crawford Fire Department near his ranch. He entered the polling booth with first lady Laura Bush and their two daughters. He was confident in the judgment of the people and said "I believe I'm going to win."
Three US states seemed to be the battleground for deciding the Election 2004 turnout, namely Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. A second tier of closely watched states includes Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota with 27 electoral votes.
Thousands of lawyers hired by both rivaling parties stood on vigil at the booths to watch out for any violations of the election process.
Strategists from both parties agree that the contest for the next four-year-mandate of president of the USA will hinge on turnout.
Bush is seeking a second term as the 43rd president of the United States. Kerry is seeking to become the 44th president following a 20-year career as the junior senator from Massachusetts.
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