Poll suggests Kerry has lead in swing states

Washington Post poll suggests Kerry has lead in important swing states.

John Kerry appealed to African-American voters on Sunday, as he pushed ahead with his campaign to unseat George W. Bush.

Kerry promised the voters, many of whom feel the Republicans are trying to keep them off the voter lists, "We're not going to let this be just a repeat of 2000. We're not going to see a million African-Americans deprived of their votes in America," he said.

With just 16 days to go until the vote, the race couldn't be tighter.

Polls suggest a dead heat. Even Republican organizers concede the Democratic senator has benefited from his performance in the three presidential debates.

And a Washington Post poll shows Kerry with a significant lead in important states that could decide the outcome of the election. The poll found Kerry held a 53 per cent to 43 per cent lead among likely voters in 13 such states.

While Kerry was campaigning in two of those states on Sunday - Ohio and Florida - Bush took the day off, choosing instead to concentrate on a major speech on terrorism he is scheduled to deliver in New Jersey on Monday.

Analysts say it is the handful of crucial swing states, like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida that will be most important on Nov. 2. Those states will be heavily targeted by both campaigns in the closing weeks of the race.