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Gallup Poll: Bush Leading Gore in Presidential Election

Aired October 9, 2000 - 2:39 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: Americans head to the voting booth four weeks from tomorrow to choose a new president. So what are they thinking today?

Let's check in with Gallup Poll editor in chief Frank Newport at his post in Princeton.

Frank, what do you got?

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

Let's put it in context for you. This is a fascinating race for survey scientists who are looking at it, because it's close. And that means that, on any given day, one candidate or the other can actually ahead, if the election were held on that day. And that's what we track.

This goes all the way back to July. Just to give you a big picture, notice that Bush was ahead at that point. After the conventions, Gore came back and tied it. Gore was actually ahead in September. Then there have been some ups and downs. It was tied again going into the debates. But coming out the debates over a couple of days, as I will show you in a moment, George W. Bush has moved back into the lead.

Shorter-term perspective here: Let's just take it to kind of see what impact the debates had. They were tied, Gore and Bush, in late September, early October. Gore actually moved into somewhat of a lead going into the debates. But as we track the numbers for those nights, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday after the debates, we saw George W. Bush moving back into the lead.

And he's now ahead by seven or eight points, as you can see here. It looks like, to us, the impact of the debates were more positive for George W. Bush than for Gore. One reason: high, favorable numbers -- or at least, one reason why we can explain it, from pre-debate to post-debate, Bush's favorables didn't move. Al Gore's went down.

Let's show you the unfavorables from pre-debate to post-debate. Again, George W. Bush's didn't move. But Al Gore's unfavorables actually went up by seven points, as you can see there. All of that is commiserate with the hypothesis that something about the debates -- or the aftermath of the spin, so to speak, Lou, Natalie, of the debates, actually had more negative impact on Al W. Gore. And that's where we are where we are today.

Of course, there is a new debate on Wednesday. And we expect things to change again as voters continually tune in and out of this fascinating race.

WATERS: Frank, how do you explain this large spread between Bush and Gore in the Gallup Poll? Other polls today are reporting that Bush ahead. like you, but within the margin of error. Why the disparity? Have you polled the other pollsters?

NEWPORT: Well, we haven't polled the other pollsters. But it's not uncommon. You know, the differences sometimes are larger than they look, because when you examine the gaps, you're actually doubling the difference between, say, Gore's percent of the vote and Bush's percent of the vote. But there are some different methodological procedures.

Other pollsters sometimes do it differently than we do. And sometimes that can account for the differences. Generally speaking, if you look at them over time, most of the reputable polls stay in pretty close proximity to one another.

WATERS: All right. And we await the numbers tomorrow.

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