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  Who will win the US presidential election?
Updated 16 October 2004, 13.03

It's two weeks to go before the US presidential election.

Newsround's Nishan Degnarain reports from Boston on the recent debates on TV between President Bush and his challenger John Kerry - and reveals what we can expect to see as the election gets closer.


What happens in a US TV debate?

The two candidates face each other in three national TV debates, where they give short two minute answers to questions from the audience and a journalist.

Millions of people watched the debates
Millions of people watched the debates
Unlike Britain, there are very few opportunities for opposition leaders to ask the President questions.

So each political party arranges debates to allow both candidates to question each others' policies.

Why are the debates important?

The debates are an important way for voters to decide who to vote for.

Just like four years ago when the polls were just as close, these debates are the best way for Americans to see both candidates together.

The debates also reveal how well they deal with difficult questions - as well as how good they look on TV!

Former president John F Kennedy
Former president John F Kennedy
Do looks matter?

In one of the closest elections in US history in the 1960s, a young President Kennedy narrowly won.

Many felt that one of the main reasons he won was that his opponent sweated under the hot camera lights during the TV debate and so he looked less trustworthy, compared to the handsome, young President Kennedy who had used make-up before appearing!

Who is winning?

Before the three debates, President Bush was a long way ahead of Kerry.

But after the third debate, the polls showed that both candidates were very close.

So the next few weeks will be crucial.

What can we expect now?

Kerry on the election trail
Kerry on the election trail
By the end of the election more than $500m will have been spent on the two campaigns, the most spent in the history of an election anywhere in the world.

With the polls tied evenly, both candidates will be trying their best to appeal to voters.

Expect a lot more kissing babies and rubbing shoulders with celebrities as both candidates look for glam photo opportunities to try to persuade those who haven't yet made up their minds.

What's the difference between the candidates?

Bush meets his fans
Bush meets his fans
President Bush has been very unpopular abroad, and is seen by some people as helping the rich in America with big tax cuts.

But there are many Americans who support Bush and say he has made their country more secure and he's winning the war on terror.

John Kerry is proposing changing the way that the America participates in the world, as well as helping more poor people living in America.

Americans who don't support Kerry think that he lacks the leadership skills to run the most powerful country in the world.

More InfoBORDER=0
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