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CNN/Time Poll: Gore, Bush tied; 1 in 5 voters undecided

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Al Gore and George W. Bush are virtually tied in the latest CNN/Time poll, and with one in five likely voters saying they could change their minds between now and November, this race is wide open.

Gore has erased the double-digit lead Bush held this summer by using the Democratic convention and his campaign in the subsequent weeks to convince voters he's a strong and decisive leader who agrees with them on the issues.

Yet Gore hasn't been able to pull ahead of Bush. One reason is that slightly more Americans share Bush's view of the size and role of the federal government, while an even larger number of Americans think the GOP nominee is a strong leader.

However, Bush's campaign tactics have not scored well with voters: Only a bare majority think the Texas governor sincerely wants to debate Gore, despite his challenge to the vice president of face off on NBC's "Meet the Press" and CNN's "Larry King Live." More Americans think Bush is ducking debates than feel that way about Gore.

In addition, 57 percent of those polled believe Gore would say anything to get elected President, but 58 percent feel the same way about Bush. Recent Bush ads assailing Gore's character have also made the GOP nominee seem more negative than Gore.

While the ads may have led to a drop in Gore's favorable rating, they may have driven Bush's down even further. The Texas governor's use of an expletive to describe a New York Times reporter -- a comment captured by an open microphone at Labor Day campaign event in Illinois -- turns out to be a small disadvantage.

Although six in 10 Americans say the comment -- which rhymes with "brass pole," as comedian Jay Leno described it -- had no impact on their view of Bush, seven percent said it made them feel more favorable toward Bush, while 27 percent said it made them feel less favorable toward him.

The CNN/Time Poll, conducted September 6-7, 2000, consisted of interviews with 1,275 adult Americans, including 735 likely voters.


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Suppose that the presidential election were being held today, and it included Al Gore and Joe Lieberman as the Democratic candidates, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as the Republican candidates, Pat Buchanan and Ezola Foster as the Reform Party candidates and Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke as the Green Party candidates. For whom would you vote?


Gore      47%

Bush      46

Nader      4

Buchanan   1

Sampling error: +/-3.5% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Do you think you will definitely vote for you candidate for president in November, or could you change your mind?


Definitely vote for		77%

Could change mind		21%

Not sure				2%

Sampling error: +/-3.5% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Really Wants to Debate?

Do you think Al Gore really wants to debate George Bush, or do you think he's trying to avoid debating?


Wants to debate		65%

Trying to avoid		22%

Not sure			13%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Do you think George W. Bush wants to debate Al Gore, or do you think he's trying to avoid debating?


Wants to debate		52%

Trying to avoid		34%

Not sure			14%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Too Much Negative Campaigning?

In your view, has Al Gore engaged in too much negative campaigning or made too many attacks on his opponent?


Yes				30%

No				60%

Not sure		10%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

In your view, has George W. Bush engaged in too much negative campaigning or made too many attacks on his opponent?


Yes				39%

No				53%

Not sure		8%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Opinion of Candidates

Please tell me if you have generally favorable or generally unfavorable impressions of each.


               Gore    Bush


Favorable       60%     54%

Unfavorable     29      34

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Is Al Gore a strong, decisive leader?


         Now   Aug. 9-10


Yes      51%      42%

No       39       49

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Is George W. Bush a strong, decisive leader?


          Bush     Gore


Yes        62%      51%

No         31       39

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Please tell me whether you think each of the following applies or does not apply to Al Gore and George W. Bush.

Shares your view on the size of the government?


           Bush     Gore


Yes        48%      44%

No         42       44

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

Would say anything to get elected president?


          Bush     Gore


Yes        58%      57%

No         36       36

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Opinions of Gore


                           Now    Aug. 9-10


Has new ideas              60%      51%

Someone you can trust      55       49

Agrees with you on issues  54       46

Strong leader              51       42

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Opinions of Candidates


                          Gore    Bush


Has new ideas              60%     56%

Someone you can trust      55      52

Agrees with you on issues  54      50

Sampling error: +/-3% pts 


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Recently, George W. Bush was heard using a vulgarity referring to a New York Times reporter. Does that make you feel more favorable toward Bush, less favorable, or doesn't it change your view of Bush?


More favorable toward Bush    7%

Less favorable toward Bush   27%

No effect                    62%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

On issues, Bush's focus in the past week on tax cuts and defense issues may be taking a back seat to Gore's proposals to use the surplus on social spending.

Over three-quarters think that it is extremely or very important to use the surplus to strengthen Social Security and Medicare and to increase spending on education.

Just under two-thirds say that it is important to use the surplus to pay down the debt. But only a bare majority say it is important to use the surplus for tax cuts, and only 42 percent say it should go to increasing defense spending.

On the prescription drug debate, most Americans say they know someone who has had to forego a needed drug because it cost to much or had to cut back on other necessities to pay for the medicine. And 85 percent say that prescription drug companies overcharge consumers to make a bigger profit.

On Social Security, a majority still favor allowing individuals to invest part of their payroll taxes in the stock market, but support has dropped in the past year, possibly because the issue has become politicized.


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Extremely/Very Important To Use Surplus for...


Social Security      79%

Education            77

Pay down the debt    63

Tax cut              52

Defense spending     42

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Do you personally know of someone who has either had to forego a needed drug because of cost, or had to cut back on other necessities to pay for drugs?


Yes     53%

No      45%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Do you think drugs are reasonably priced, given the costs of research and development to produce new medications, or do you think the drug industry overcharges the consumer to make a bigger profit?


Yes      85%

No       10

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


CNN/TIME POLL

September 6-7

Do you favor or oppose allowing individuals to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in the U.S. stock market?


            Now   1999


Favor        53%    66%

Oppose       39     28

Sampling error: +/-3% pts 

 
EUROPE'S VIEW
Where do Bush and Gore stand on issues of importance to Europe? Launch our Interactive Guide.

POLLS
View the latest tracking poll or dig into our poll archives.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

VIDEO
Watch selected policy speeches and campaign commercials from the major presidential candidates.

WHERE THEY STAND
See where George W. Bush and Al Gore stand on the major issues.

THE STATES
Who are your elected officials? What is the past presidential vote and number of electoral votes in your state? What are the presidential primary results and exit polls? Find out with these state political and election facts.

ELECTION GUIDE
Get Election 2000 zip code searchable candidate biographies and other material for races for governor, Senate and House in our Election Guide.

FOLLOW THE MONEY
How much money have the candidates raised? Here are their quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission.

RACES
If you need to know who's up in 2000 and what seats are open, launch this quick guide.

WEB WHITE AND BLUE
Allpolitics.com is a partner in the Web White and Blue rolling cyber-debate, a daily online exchange among the major presidential candidates. Look for twice-daily updates Sunday through Friday until election day.


MORE STORIES:

Friday, September 8, 2000


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