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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK
US election road trip 2004
BBC News Online hit the road to listen to Americans as they prepare to elect a president. Reporters Richard Greene and Kevin Anderson visited five states to try to shed light on the issues that make the headlines - and some that don't.

They found people deeply engaged with the election - but not always in the way that the politicians and pundits think they are. Click on any link below for more on specific issues.

IRAQ :: 28 SEPTEMBER
American soldiers in Najaf
Iraq could easily be the make-or-break issue in the election, with the nation deeply divided over the invasion. President Bush argues that John Kerry is not decisive enough to lead the country in time of war, while Mr Kerry says the White House rushed into an unnecessary war.


THE MEDIA :: 27 SEPTEMBER
Dan Rather, CBS newsreader at the heart of a scandal
Americans have remarkably low trust in their media - and very strong feelings about it. Most say the media is too biased, but the rise of cable television has made it easier than ever for people to seek out media that reinforce their views, rather than challenge them.


THE DISENFRANCHISED :: 24 SEPTEMBER
Mitchell Setts, Florida voter who expects things to be better this time around
No-one who lived through the debacle of Florida's recount in 2000 will ever forget it. Volunteers are out on the streets to make sure it doesn't happen again, and the government has poured millions into new voting machinery, but will it be enough to avoid a repeat fiasco?

HOMELAND SECURITY :: 22 SEPTEMBER
Thomas Harris prays there will be no repeat of 9/11
In the first election since 9/11, security cannot help but be the main concern of many voters. Even thousands of miles from Washington and New York, the people of Nashville, Tennessee demand a president who will keep them safe - which could help Mr Bush.


VIETNAM :: 21 SEPTEMBER
Rowland Huddleston, Navy veteran who wants to let the past alone
Republicans and Democrats have all but refought the Vietnam war as they compare their candidates' records during America's most controversial conflict. But they seem to have missed one thing: Voters - even veterans - aren't interested in old battles.


THE LATINO VOTE :: 20SEPTEMBER
Anita and Manuel Vasquez are descendants of Latinos who have been in Texas for generations
Latinos - America's oldest minority - have just become the largest one as well. Numbering nearly 40 million, they could easily tip the election one way or another. But is it wise to lump them all together as a voting bloc? Many of them advise against it.


THE BUSH FACTOR :: 17 SEPTEMBER
President Bush at a campaign rally in St Cloud, Minnesota, on 16 September
He came to office promising to be a uniter, not a divider - but George W Bush has gone on to be one of the most divisive presidents in recent memory. Friends and foes in Texas told BBC News Online why they liked or loathed him - and agreed that he is no dummy.


RELIGION :: 15 SEPTEMBER
Lawn sign asking
Americans are among the most deeply religious people in the world, and many want a leader who reflects that. But profound beliefs do not always lead voters to the same conclusions when it comes to choosing a president. So would Jesus vote Republican or Democrat?


HEALTH CARE :: 14 SEPTEMBER
Roy Davis, stroke victim who had no health insurance
Unlike many European countries, America has never had a national health care system, and 45 million Americans have no health insurance. For many of them, that is one of the most important issues in the election - as well as a serious threat to their health.


THE ECONOMY :: 13 SEPTEMBER
Denise Livingston, unemployed worker in Detroit, Michigan
President Bush seems almost certain to be the first president to lose jobs on his watch since the 1930s - but the economy is on the rebound and his tax cuts have been popular with many small business owners. What matters more to voters, the lost jobs or the tax cuts?





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