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Gallup Poll: Gore Leads Bush in Presidential Race

Aired September 18, 2000 - 2:32 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: Vice President Al Gore will get the endorsement of the Teamsters Union today. The group is the last major labor organization that had not stated its support for the Democratic nominee.

In Arkansas today, the Republican, George W. Bush, opened a week of campaigning on middle class themes. At a Little Rock hospital, he unveiled the first plank of his so-called blueprint for the middle class. Bush wants to double the tax credit for children to $1,000.

The CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup tracking poll is a two- to three-day pulse of the presidential race. Let's take the pulse now with Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport at the Princeton studio.

Frank, what's the story?

FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR IN CHIEF: Well, let's show you. We've been seeing the basic structure in this race ever since a few days after Labor Day. We wanted to show you where our third-party candidates are doing first because there's a reason for doing that. This is Nader 3 percent and Buchanan 1 percent in our latest rolling average; Gore 39 and Bush 41. We'll come back to that in a moment.

The reason we're pointing these two out is they have to reach 15 percent in an average of polls to be in the Commission on Presidential Debates -- at least meet that criteria to be in the debates. It doesn't look like either of them will. Looks like a two-person debate for those three debates coming in October.

Now, what I was mentioning is the numbers go up and down as they do in any tracking poll, but as you can see, Gore has been right at the high, 40 percent now for, you know, eight to 10 days, and Bush has been in the low 40s. They'll move up and they'll move down, but basically that's the pattern. It's a close race. Gore, generally speaking, has been coming in with more votes than George W. Bush for the last week or two.

Now, attention paid to the race we think is a key indicator for what's going to happen over the next week or two. We've tracked this from 1996 and we've superimposed on top of that what we're finding now in the year 200, which is that yellow line: very close. So it looks like it's a very similar race, no less attention being paid now than in 1996, as of this past weekend, but no more attention either. We'll monitor that through the Olympics and see what happens. Lou, one interesting historical fact. We've been pointing out, in 1988, Dukakis led Bush -- excuse me, Bush the elder led Dukakis by that same 49 to 41 margin that Gore now leads his son. What happened in '88 was . What happened in '88 was Bush went on and went on to win. I think George W. is hoping that it won't be a repeat of what happened in 1988.

Lou, back to you.

WATERS: All right, we'll check back. Frank Newport in Princeton, Gallup editor in chief.

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