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Gallup Poll: Will the Nader Factor Play a Major Role on Election Day?

Aired November 6, 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: Ralph Nader as potential spoiler for Al Gore? Let's go to Gallup Poll editor-in-chief Frank Newport. He's in the Princeton studio.

Frank, what do you got on this Nader business?

FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP POLL: Well, indeed, a vote for Nader could be a vote for Gore more than a vote than anybody else. Over the last week or so, we've been asking everybody who says they are going to vote for Nader: Who would you vote for if you didn't vote for Nader?

And Al Gore gets the slight majority of those votes. Look here. Al Gore -- 51 percent of Nader's voters said they would be voting for Gore otherwise -- only 14 percent for Bush. And about 21 percent said they wouldn't vote at all. Now, what that means, of course, is that if Nader disappeared or everybody decided they weren't going to vote for him, it could make a difference.

Why? Well, let's show you where we stand as of the weekend on our latest estimate of the national popular vote: 47 percent for Bush, 45 for Gore, and 4 percent for Ralph Nader. So if you take about half of the Nader vote and add it to do Gore: Bingo, you've got a tied race. So it could be a factor. It may be a factor if some Nader people change their mind about voting for Nader overnight. It could be a factor. Or, of course, if more Gore people go to Nader, it could go the other way. We will wait and see.

Some other information about the race that's very interesting. The favorable ratings have now caught up, where they are about equal. This takes it all the way back to January for the two major candidates -- been kind of up and down. But you will notice here in our most recent poll over the weekend: 58 percent favorable for Bush, 55 percent favorable for Gore -- so the images of the two major candidates about the same.

There is room for some change. About three-quarters of Americans say they feel strongly about their choice for the major-party candidates. Actually, for the small number of Nader voters, it's a little lower: 76 and 69. That means about a quarter of voters could change their mind. Turnout tomorrow, Lou, very interestingly, could be higher, we think, than in 1996, because our internal measures of interest in the campaign are higher than at this point back then. So we might look for more than 50 percent turnout when everything is through -- that tomorrow, Election Day.

Lou, back to you.

WATERS: Frank, I am curious, did you ask any questions about whether voters might change their mind about Nader at the last minute?

NEWPORT: No, we don't -- we did not ask specifically whether or not they're going to change their minds. So we don't know how many tell us they might come off of that vote. But usually, if they're telling us at this point that is who they going to vote for, they usually stick with it.

WATERS: All right, Frank Newport in Princeton.

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