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CNN Today

Gallup Poll: Al Gore First Choice for Presidential Nomination Among Democratic Voters

Aired February 9, 2000 - 1:32 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: The two Democratic presidential candidates sparred over education today. Bill Bradley claimed that the Gore-Clinton administration has been long on promises and short on progress, while Al Gore countered that Bradley's interest in education comes too late.

Gallup Poll Editor in Chief Frank Newport has some figures on the Gore Bradley race and he joins us from Princeton, New Jersey.

Hi, Frank.

FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR IN CHIEF: Hi, Donna. Indeed, a lot of the attention has been focused on the Republican side, but you know the Democratic nomination is now in a crucial time as well even though their next primary is not until March 7. What we can say all in all is that Vice President Al Gore is looking pretty good.

Let's show you the track of our national numbers where we've been tracking what Democrats across the country say would be their first choice for the nomination, all the way back through November through this past weekend. And as you can see, it's fairly clear: That top line there is Al Gore, and he's been on top of Bill Bradley the entire time. And if nothing, this last poll, which we just finished a couple of days ago, shows that, after New Hampshire, Gore is doing as well as ever against Bill Bradley, essentially, which means that Bill Bradley's been unable to break into that lead like McCain has on the other side, and that's something Bradley's got to do if he has any hope of doing well in those primaries in March.

A little more bad news for Bill Bradley. We ask people who were supporting either candidate: Do you support them strongly or might you change your mind? And you can see, for Gore, 61 percent say they're firm in their support for Gore, so there's not a lot of room to play with for Bill Bradley. Just 36 percent are soft. For Bradley, it's the other way around, a lot more soft voters, as you can see there.

What about the issues? Well, we can show you why Bill Bradley hasn't been doing as well as he might anticipate. In the middle there, it's: Does each candidate have new ideas? And although Bill Bradley thinks he's new, Democrats give Gore just as much credit for that. On the left side, Democrats give Gore more credit for being the guy who could help the economy. And of course Gore's strength over here: Democrats think he's the guy who could win come next November.

So right now, looking pretty good for Al Gore. We'll watch and see what happens.

Back to you.

KELLEY: Frank, before you go, with Forbes dropping out, we were talking earlier and wondering if you had any new numbers or some numbers that were fairly recent, that if Forbes drops out, where do his supporters go: McCain or Bush?

NEWPORT: Good question. In fact, over this past weekend, we looked at those numbers. The problem is, there aren't many of them. Only 2 percent of Republican nationally, as of this past weekend, said they were supporting Forbes. When we look at that very small number, they tend to go more to Bush than they do to McCain, but it's such a small group of people. Of course, that's why Forbes is dropping out. We really don't think it's going to have a major impact, at least what we can see at all, because Forbes simply didn't have a lot of support.

KELLEY: OK, Frank Newport, the editor in chief of Gallup, thanks.

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