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Bush and Gore Maintain Leads in the Races for Republican, Democrat Nominations

Bush and Gore Maintain Leads in the Races for Republican, Democrat Nominations

No substantial change in public's preferences in general election

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Texas governor George W. Bush and vice president Al Gore continue to maintain very strong national leads among potential primary voters in their respective parties. Although the precise percentage of the votes that each receives has varied from poll to poll, their commanding leads have been roughly constant over the past eight months. In similar fashion, Bush continues to lead Gore in general election trial heats, and this too represents little change from polling that stretches back to February of this year.

The biggest changes in the potential make-up of this year's race have come in the Republican Party. Earlier this year, Gallup polls asked Republicans about ten potential candidates for the nomination. That number has dwindled as Dan Quayle, Pat Buchanan and Elizabeth Dole have left the field. Now, in the most recent poll, Republicans are asked about Bush, John McCain, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Orrin Hatch and Alan Keyes. The main impact of the narrowing of the race has been to increase the size of George W. Bush's lead, which at its low point in late April and early May was only 18% points, and which has grown to the overwhelming 56%-point-lead evident in Gallup's most recent November poll.

Bush's campaign has gone through three distinct phases.

  • Between April and early June, Bush averaged 47% of the vote. It was during this time period that Elizabeth Dole made the strongest challenge that anyone has mounted to date, pushing her vote total up to 24% at one point, within 18% points of Bush.
  • From late June through September, Bush increased his average percentage of the Republican vote to 61% as Dole's candidacy faded. This represents the time period during which Bush was being challenged by the full complement of Republican politicians, including a former vice president.
  • Finally, in three Gallup polls conducted from October through the most recent November 4-11 poll, Bush has surged to an average of 65% of the vote, benefiting from the drop out of Buchanan, Quayle and Dole.

The bad news for the campaigns of John McCain and Steve Forbes: They have been unable to capture significant percentages of the vote totals of the candidates who dropped out of the race. Dole's, Quayle's and Buchanan's withdrawals put into play up to 20% of the Republican vote, and the data suggest that at least half of that has gone to Bush, with McCain getting the bulk of the rest.

Still, McCain has benefited only marginally. His current 12% of the vote, against the diminished field, is his highest percentage to date, but significantly below the 24% that Elizabeth Dole obtained at one point in late spring. And, despite the narrowing of the field, wealthy magazine publisher Steve Forbes is still getting only 6% of the Republican vote in the most recent poll, exactly the same percentage he received against the full field of contenders back in April and May.

On the Democratic side, the vote choice has been much simpler all year long: Gore versus Bradley. Gore has been ahead of the former New Jersey senator in every poll taken during that time period. The margin between the two candidates has varied somewhat from poll to poll, and Bradley managed to come within 12 points of the vice president in one poll in early October, but Gore quickly rebounded. In fact, across ten polls conducted from April through this past weekend, Gore has averaged 59% of the vote and Bradley 31%. In the most recent poll, Gore's 58% and Bradley's 33% of the Democratic vote are remarkably close to those averages, underscoring the essential lack of change in the race over the course of the year.

There has been a flurry of press reports discussing a putative Bradley surge. Much of this is built on the fact that Bradley has done better in certain key primary states (and on Bradley's success in fund raising). There is no national primary vote, of course. Voting will take place on a state by state basis, and the vote in early states can have an impact on the vote in the states whose primaries follow. Therefore, the poll results from a state like New Hampshire -- which have shown Bradley catching up with Gore -- can be important despite the Granite State's small population. Nevertheless, there has been no major shift in the national polls which aggregate all Democratic voters together, suggesting that Bradley's campaign is still waiting for events which will shift him to the more competitive position he will need if he is to capture the Democratic nomination.

George W. Bush is also maintaining a healthy lead among voters when they are asked to vote in hypothetical general election ballots. In the most recent poll, Bush leads Gore by a 55% to 40% margin. Gore's 40% now is actually smaller than the percentage he received in May of 1998, when he got 47% of the vote against Bush. Gore did best in that May 1998 poll and in an early January poll this year (he came close to tying Bush in each), but since February Gore has dropped to roughly his current levels. Since February, Gore's high point has been only 43% of the vote, not substantially different from his low point of 37%.

Survey Methods
The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,011 adults, 18 years and older, conducted November 4-7, 1999. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Next, I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Republican primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for President in the year 2000. [RANDOM ORDER: Family Research Council chairman, Gary Bauer; Texas Governor, George W. Bush; businessman, Steve Forbes; Arizona senator, John McCain; Utah senator, Orrin Hatch; political commentator, Alan Keyes]?

BASED ON - 417 -- REPUBLICANS/LEAN REPUBLICAN; ± 5 PCT PTS

  Bsh Dol Qay Frb McC Buc Bau Htc Key No
Republicans
1999 Nov     
4-7
68% -- -- 6 12 -- 2 2 2 8
1999 Oct     
21-24
68% -- -- 8 11 -- 1 3 2 7
1999 Oct     
8-10
60% 11 -- 4 8 3 3 2 3 6
1999 Sep     
10-14
62% 10 5 5 5 3 2 2 1 5
1999 Aug 16-18 61% 13 6 4 5 3 2 1 1 4
1999 Jun
25-27
59% 8 6 6 5 3 2 2 -- 6
1999 Jun 4-5 46% 14 9 5 5 6 1 -- -- 5
1999 May 23-24 46% 18 7 5 6 6 2 -- -- 5
1999 Apr 30-May 2 42% 24 6 6 4 5 3 -- -- 5
1999 Apr 13-14 53% 16 7 6 5 4 2 -- -- 2

-- Candidate's name not included in list for that survey (either because person had not yet announced candidacy, or because candidate had dropped out of the race)
Bsh: Bush
Dol: Dole
Qay: Quayle
Frb: Forbes
McC: McCain
Buc: Buchanan
Bau: Bauer
Htc: Hatch
Key: Keyes
No: None/ Other/ No opinion

Next, I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Democratic primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for President in the year 2000? [ROTATE: Former New Jersey senator, Bill Bradley; vice president, Al Gore]?

BASED ON -- 480 -- DEMOCRATS/LEAN DEMOCRATIC; ± 5 PCT PTS

  Gore Bradley Other (vol.) None/ No opinion
Democrats
1999 Nov 4-7 58% 33 * 9
1999 Oct 21-24 57% 32 * 11
1999 Oct 8-10 51% 39 1 9
1999 Sep 10-14 63% 30 * 7
1999 Aug 16-18 58% 31 1 10
1999 Jun 25-27 64% 28 1 7
1999 Jun 4-5 63% 28 0 9
1999 May 23-24 59% 30 0 11
1999 Apr 30-May 2 66% 23 1 10
1999 Apr 13-14 54% 34 1 11

If vice president Al Gore were the Democratic Party's candidate and Texas governor George W. Bush were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for -- [ROTATE: Al Gore, the Democrat (or) George W. Bush, the Republican]?

As of today, do you lean more toward -- [ROTATE: Gore, the Democrat (or), Bush, the Republican]?

  Al Gore George W. Bush OTHER (vol.) No opinion
(NA) 1999 Nov 4-7 40% 55 * 5
(NA) 1999 Oct 21-24 43% 52 * 5
(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10 40% 56 * 4
(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26 37% 55 * 8
(NA) 1999 Sep 10-14 39% 56 * 5
(NA) 1999 Aug 16-18 41% 55 * 4
(NA) 1999 Jul 16-18 38% 55 * 7
(NA) 1999 Jun 25-27 41% 56 * 3
(NA) 1999 Jun 4-5 40% 56 * 4
(NA) 1999 May 23-24 40% 54 * 6
(NA) 1999 Apr 30-May 2 40% 56 * 4
(NA) 1999 Apr 13-14 38% 59 * 3
(NA) 1999 Mar 12-14 41% 56 * 3
(NA) 1999 Mar 5-7 41% 56 * 3
(NA) 1999 Feb 19-21 43% 54 * 3
(NA) 1999 Jan 8-10 47% 48 * 5
(NA) 1998 May 8-10 46% 50 * 4

(NA) = National Adults

If former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley were the Democratic Party's candidate and Texas governor George W. Bush were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for -- [ROTATE: Bill Bradley, the Democrat (or), George W. Bush, the Republican]?

As of today, do you lean more toward -- [ROTATE: Bill Bradley, the Democrat (or), George W. Bush, the Republican]?

  Bill Bradley George W. Bush OTHER (vol.) No opinion
1999 Nov 4-7 42% 53 * 5
1999 Oct 21-24 39% 54 * 7
1999 Oct 8-10 42% 54 * 4
1999 Sep 10-14 37% 57 * 6
1999 Aug 16-18 40% 55 * 5
1999 Apr 13-14 34% 61 * 5

* Included in list but chosen by less than 0.5 percent
(vol.) = volunteered response


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/3475/Bush-Gore-Maintain-Leads-Races-Republican-Democrat-Nominations.aspx
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