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Some Polls Still Show a Close Race

July 31, 2000

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The presidential race may still be close, a couple of new polls suggest, even though George W. Bush has had a big lead in many of the pre-convention polls.

Republican Bush has a 44 percent to 39 percent edge over Democrat Al Gore in a Los Angeles Times poll of registered voters out Monday. A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll showed Bush at 44 percent and Gore at 38 percent.

Other polls out in recent days have shown Bush surging to a lead ranging from 7 points to 12 points. One by CNN-Time even gave Bush a 16-point lead.

Bush’s lead expands a bit when the poll is of likely voters, a group more likely to include Republicans.

The selection of Dick Cheney appeared to give Bush a modest lift in the polls, though surveys also suggest many in the public aren’t familiar with his voting record in Congress, which was quite conservative.

The wide disparity in polls can be expected this early in a race when most people aren’t paying close attention and their opinions aren’t firmly set, veteran pollsters say.

Each of the two candidates has some clear advantages on issues and personal characteristics, according to the Los Angeles Times poll.

Gore scores better than Bush on health care (51 percent to 31 percent), Social Security (49 percent to 35 percent) and the economy (43 percent to 39 percent). Bush has an advantage on military defense (61 percent to 24 percent), the death penalty (49 percent to 30 percent), and the two are tied on education.

On candidate characteristics, Bush is considered more personally likable (48 percent to 30 percent), and better on strong leadership (45 percent to 30 percent) and moral values (40 percent to 30 percent). Gore scores better on experience (51 percent to 29 percent) and the two are about even on caring about ordinary people.

The Times poll of 1,058 registered voters was taken Thursday through Saturday and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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