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Special Event

Early Polls Show Gore Won Third Debate

Aired October 17, 2000 - 11:08 p.m. ET

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The debate ended a little over a half-an-hour ago, and already, we have some poll results -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes we do, Judy.

We interviewed viewers of the debate tonight. Now, they started out favoring Bush, 52 to 43 percent. That is a nine-point margin. Then we asked them: OK, who do you think won the debate? And the answer is Gore by two points: 46 to 44. But that is actually a substantial victory for Gore, because notice this: They started, out 52 percent of them, supporting George Bush for president. But only 44 percent of those interviewed said they thought Bush won the debate.

So very, clearly, Bush lost ground with the debate viewers. The majority of them started out supporting him. Only 44 percent thought he won the debate.

SHAW: In a one-room schoolhouse in Michigan, Wolf Blitzer has lots of people.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, we want to get some more detailed reaction from these 17 undecided persuadable voters.

I want to begin with you. Was there a defining moment for you in the course of this debate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I would like to address the clean air and water situation, which the Republicans tried to roll back in recent years. And on one of the debates -- I don't think it was tonight -- Bush's record was brought out about weakening the water standards in Texas. And I just have a lot of fear about having a Republican Congress and Bush as president as far as the environment is concerned: the air and water, essentially.

BLITZER: So which way are you leaning right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm leaning strongly towards Gore. But I'm also thinking about Nader as well.

BLITZER: OK, Nader is definitely a possibility. What about you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the defining moments, for me, was -- I'm still leaning -- but when... BLITZER: Leaning which way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm leaning toward Governor -- toward Vice President Gore, and the reason being, with tonight's debate, Governor Bush evaded too many questions, especially about the Dingell-Norwood bill. And he wouldn't answer. Just certain things he wouldn't answer. I want to hear his opinion when he is asked a question. And that is a defining factor for me. You've got to answer the questions.

BLITZER: What about for you back there, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard things from both the candidates, in regards to education. When I heard Bush talking about accountability. And that really hit home. I have got a 2-year-old son who will be starting school in the next couple of years -- so talking about responsibility of the parents and the teachers. And then Gore also talked about -- from the education standpoint -- attracting teachers and doing that. The only issue I had with that is: How are we going to pay for it?

BLITZER: So -- so which way are you leaning right now ?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm still just up in the air. I'm hearing good things and things that I don't like from both the candidates.

BLITZER: You know, you only have three weeks left to make up your mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I know.

BLITZER: So you are going to have to study the issues.

What about you, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a lot of issues that I agree with Al Gore, like I agree with him on the military spending, because in the past year, and then a lot of, you know, military was reduced. So I like to see that, too. And also, well, tonight whole issue, I didn't hear anything about, like, for some of the -- the government help the family of paying affordable health insurance. It is not available at work for some of the unemployment people.

BLITZER: For some people who are not unemployed, health insurance is an important issue. So you are leaning towards Gore right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BLITZER: OK, now, you are a teacher, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.

BLITZER: There was a lot of discussion about teachers and education. Tell us where you came out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I thought Vice President Gore had a better education plan tonight.

BLITZER: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had more specifics. He supported teachers. He supported smaller class sizes. He spoke to a lot of the details, you know, the difficulties that teachers have. The one teacher asked a question. And he seemed to answer it. And Governor Bush seemed to duck it a little bit.

BLITZER: You are -- you are teacher in a public school?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.

BLITZER: The whole issue of vouchers is a very, very divisive issue right now, whether -- and that's a strong disagreement between Bush and Gore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is correct.

BLITZER: Where do you feel -- where do you stand on

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think vouchers are bad for public education.

BLITZER: Because it would drain money from the public school system?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And both ways: It handicaps the private schools, because with the money is going to come constraints. And so they are going to be less able to do their job in the private sector.

BLITZER: So can we conclude now you are going to vote for Al Gore?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you cannot conclude that.

BLITZER: Why? Tell us why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I would still like to vote for Bush, because I like his stand on the Second Amendment.

BLITZER: The Second Amendment is guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BLITZER: That's more important to you than education?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's not. I said I'm still in the air. I wish I could combine the two candidates. I wish one candidate would say: If I'm elected, I'm going to have this guy work in my administration as a major candidate.

BLITZER: All right. What about you, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I almost totally agree with him on that point.

BLITZER: On which point?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to take -- I would like to take a little bit from him and a little bit from him and put it together into one candidate. I don't like Bush's Social Security plan. I believe that he will bankrupt the plan if he takes, basically, my money with the younger generation and lets them do whatever they want with it. He's going to take a chunk out of the Social Security money. I am totally against that.

I'm totally against his privatization with building schools and so on, and turning that over to the people like the Edison Corporation to build schools and so on. So...

BLITZER: So does that mean you are going to vote for Al Gore?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... with Gore -- well, no.

BLITZER: Why ?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because -- because I don't like his selectivity. I understand that his $10,000 tax credit for college is -- it is a tax credit. So I read an article that was written in the "New York Times" that said, when you separate the wheat from the chaff, you end up with about $230. It is a tax credit. It is not $10,000 in cash. So -- and...

BLITZER: But a tax credit money that is eliminated from your bottom line tax bill, if that is a tax credit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, yes but -- but, depending on what your tax bracket is, all kinds of other issues -- he said -- now, he may be wrong. I don't know -- but he said it would end up being $230. Now, the other thing is that I understood that there was so much selectivity in the process of selecting the people who are eligible that a lot of people were not eligible.

BLITZER: So the targeting of tax cut is what you don't like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but in a lot of Gore's programs, I find that he helps a lot of -- some people a lot some and some people not at all. So there is sort of like no midway with him. And I don't like that.

BLITZER: All right, we are going to take quick break. We have a lot more to talk about. We want to get as many reactions as we possibly can. We'll be right back for more.

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