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 TIME on politics TIME CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and TIME

Poll: Gore, Bradley in dead heat

By KEATING HOLLAND/CNN

October 29, 1999
Web posted at: 11:06 a.m. EDT (1506 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley remain in a statistical dead heat in the wake of he first face-to-face meeting between the two candidates Wednesday night, according to a new CNN/Gallup poll. However, Bradley has a slight advantage among New Hampshire Democratic primary voters who watched at least some of the town meeting.

The poll is based on interviews conducted October 28 with 432 New Hampshire voters who say they will participate in next year's Democratic presidential primary.

Some 39 percent of Democratic primary voters tuned into at least part of Wednesday night's forum, sponsored by CNN and television station WMUR of Manchester, New Hampshire. They found Bradley more likeable, more thoughtful, more caring, and more sincere than Gore. But they also felt that Gore is more presidential and that he is more likely to be a strong leader and understand the nation's problems.

As a result, debate watchers were split over which candidate did a better job on Wednesday night -- 39 percent said Bradley, 38 percent picked Gore.

Among all potential Democratic primary voters, Bradley holds a statistically insignificant 48 percent-46 percent lead over the vice president. That indicates that Wednesday's candidate forum had little immediate impact statewide, since independent polls published before the debate showed Bradley with similar single-digit leads.

Among primary voters who saw at least part of the debate, however, Bradley has a slightly larger 51 percent-45 percent margin. That may be an effect of the debate, or may simply indicate that Bradley voters, who are more educated, were more likely to watch the town meeting.

Would Granite State primary voters like weekly debates, as Gore has proposed? Not really. When given a choice of a debate between Bradley and Gore on a different issue each week, or four debates between now and the primary in February (the schedule both candidates have already agreed to), a majority of Democratic primary voters chose the current schedule. Only 39 percent said they would like to see the two Democrats face off every week.

Choice for Democratic Nominee in 2000

Bradley48%
Gore46
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Choice for Democratic Nominee in 2000

 AllDebate Watchers
Bradley48%51%
Gore4645
Sampling error: +/-7.5% pts

Who Did Better in Town Meeting on Wednesday?

 Debate Watchers
Bradley39%
Gore38
Sampling error: +/-7.5% pts

Preferred Schedule for Gore-Bradley Debates

Current schedule56%
Weekly debates39
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Let's look past the debate to the next few months of campaigning. Gore's advantage in New Hampshire is that potential Democratic primary voters think he is more presidential than Bradley, more likely to understand the nation's problems, and more likely to be a strong and decisive leader. Bradley's advantages are that primary voters see him as more inspiring, more likeable, more sincere, and more likely to have new ideas than Gore.

Gore, whose mantra has become "stay and fight," has not convinced Granite State primary voters that he is more likely to fight for what he believes in than Bradley. And Bradley, who paints himself as the champion of big, bold ideas, has been unable to convince primary voters that he is more likely than Gore to have a vision for the future. Both men have their work cut out for them.

Personal Qualities Which Apply More to...

 GoreBradley
Presidential51%34%
Understands problems4927
Strong leader4338
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Personal Qualities Which Apply More to...

 GoreBradley
New ideas24%56%
Inspiring3544
Likeable3342
Sincere3041
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Personal Qualities Which Apply More to...

 GoreBradley
Fights for beliefs37%36%
Vision for future3837
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Turning back to the town meeting, one issue dominated -- health care, and those who watched the candidates square off against each other on Wednesday night believe that Bradley would do a better job than Gore of improving the health care system. But Democratic primary voters in general are split down the middle over who would better handle health care.

When it comes to some personal qualities that both men tried to highlight in the debate, the same split emerges. All Democratic primary voters are evenly divided over whether which candidate is more thoughtful, more caring, and has a better vision for the future. But debate watchers feel all those qualities apply more to Bradley than to Gore.

Gore, who used the word "fight" or "fighting" 20 times on Wednesday night, did not convince debate watchers that he is more likely to fight for what he believes in than Bradley; debate watchers and the general primary electorate are split over who is more likely to fight for their beliefs.

Who Would Do Better Job Improving Health Care System?

 AllDebate Watchers
Gore41%39%
Bradley4049
Sampling error: +/-7.5% pts

Who is More Thoughtful?

 AllDebate Watchers
Gore38%41%
Bradley3430
Sampling error: +/-7.5% pts

Who Cares More About People Like You?

 AllDebate Watchers
Gore38%41%
Bradley3530
Sampling error: +/-7.5% pts

Who is More Likely to Have Vision for the Future?

 AllDebate Watchers
Gore37%41%
Bradley3836
Sampling error: +/-7.5% pts

Who Fights For What He Believes In?

 AllDebate Watchers
Gore37%35%
Bradley3639
Sampling error: +/-7.5% pts

Best Chance of Beating George W. Bush

Gore51%
Bradley35
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

ELECTION 2000

Bush's shadow looms as other GOP candidates air issues (10-28-99)

Clinton doubts he's 'a drag on the Gore campaign' (10-28-99)

Bill Press analysis: Bradley edges Gore (10-28-99)

Tucker Carlson analysis: Bradley picks the wrong heroes (10-28-99)

Smith drops out of presidential race (10-28-99)

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Friday, October 29, 1999

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