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CNN Today

Gallup Poll Results: Bush Holds Slight Lead Over Gore Among Voters

Aired March 14, 2000 - 2:41 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And now, as promised, a new CNN/"USA Today" Gallup Poll shedding interesting new light on the Gore/Bush match-up. For more on that we head north to Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport's post in Princeton, New Jersey -- Frank.

FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Good day, Lou.

Indeed we first asked about Gore versus Bush -- believe it or not -- in 1998 and Bush was significantly ahead. Now, we asked it just this past weekend after all that's gone on and guess what? George Bush is still ahead, although by a quite a bit smaller margin than we've seen in the past. Here's the basic trend graph of Bush, who's on top, and Al Gore, who's on bottom here, from January on up to this past week in and you can see it's about a 6-point lead among likely voters nationwide for George W. Bush, not a huge lead at this point.

In fact, when we asked Americans their opinions of the two candidates, Gore and Bush, we find they are almost exactly the same right now. These are the percentages who had favorable opinions, and in this weekend's poll it's 63 and 59 percent, roughly even, six out of 10 Americans have a positive opinion of both.

In fact, on the two key dimensions for any presidential candidate throughout history, the economy, which is right there on the left, and the foreign affairs in the middle, Bush and Gore are virtually tied. In other words, Americans don't see any distinction right now on how well they would handle those two key dimensions. Campaign finance reform a big deal now that John McCain has made it a major issue. You can see here Gore has a slight lead, but not much over George W. Bush.

Now, there are some differences in the minds of voters as they get ready to look ahead to November. Gore has some strengths on the environment and health care, helping the poor, things like that. George W. Bush's strengths are on crime, taxes, and on improving the moral climate of America, which is an issue that he's going to try to make some strength out of as the campaign moves toward November. All in all, our assessment, Lou and Natalie, at this point is they're fairly even and we have an exciting between now and November to watch and see what happens.

Back to you in Atlanta.

WATERS: OK, Frank Newport, we'll chat again. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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