Gore's Image Slipping as Election Contest Drags On

by Lydia Saad

Gore's unfavorable image now highest of Clinton/Gore era

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- For the first time since Al Gore emerged in 1992 as Bill Clinton's running mate for president, the vice president is now viewed unfavorably by a majority of American adults. Fifty-two percent of Americans interviewed in a new Gallup poll conducted December 2-4 have an unfavorable view of Gore, compared to 46% who view him favorably. Just prior to the November 7 election, Gore's ratio of favorable-to-unfavorable ratings was much better: 56% to 39%. By contrast, attitudes about Republican nominee George W. Bush -- that were comparable to Gore's at the time of the election -- have remained positive in the weeks since the election, with a majority continuing to view the Republican nominee favorably. Today 56% have a favorable opinion of Bush and only 40% have an unfavorable opinion, virtually the same as the weekend before the election.

It seems clear that Americans' increasingly critical view of Gore is related to their attitudes about his ongoing legal challenges to ballot counting in Florida. Shortly after the election -- and soon after the Gore legal team requested a hand-recount of votes in four Florida counties -- 52% of U.S. adults supported Gore's handling of the election outcome. However, that support has fallen several points in each subsequent week according to Gallup polls, first to 48% in mid-November, then to 42% in late November, and to just 39% today. Three out of five Americans (60%) now disapprove of the way Gore and his campaign advisors are handling the election, including 24% who strongly disapprove. This is similar to the percent who now say the presidential election situation has gone on too long (63%) and who believe Gore should now concede (58%).

Despite criticism of Bush by some Democratic leaders for moving too quickly into "transition" mode after the election, a majority of Americans continue to approve of the way Bush and his advisors have handled the election situation. In contrast to the downward trend in approval of Gore's handling of the election situation, Bush's positive levels have remained steady. Today, 57% of Americans approve of Bush's handling of the election, similar to the 53% recorded shortly after November 7.

The new poll finds Americans now prefer Bush to be the next president by a slim 46% to 40% margin. Nevertheless, most Americans seem willing to accept as the legitimate president whichever man is ultimately certified the winner. Eighty-five percent of Americans would accept Bush and a smaller, but still substantial, 71%, would accept Gore.

Democrats Standing by Gore
A review of trends in attitudes about Gore's handling of the election situation finds that Democrats and other Gore voters continue to back Gore in large numbers while Bush voters and those with no preference tend to be critical of Gore, and are growing increasingly more so. Nearly four in five Gore supporters (79%) say they approve or strongly approve of the way Gore has handled the situation surrounding the election results. This is down slightly from the 85% of Gore voters who approved of Gore's efforts initially, but still represents a solid endorsement of their candidate's actions in Florida. These numbers demonstrating Gore's strength among rank-and-file Democrats across the country may also help explain why Democratic leaders continue to rally around Gore despite the calls of some that he concede the election.

By contrast, 91% of Bush supporters currently disapprove of Gore's handling of the election results, compared to 80% who felt this way several weeks ago. And Bush voters are feeling increasingly firm about their disapproval, with 44% saying they strongly disapprove of Gore's handling of the results, compared to 34% who strongly disapproved initially.

Among those who have no preference about who wins the election, opinion of Gore tends to be negative, with 73% saying they disapprove of his handling of the election and only 26% approving. This, too, represents a decline in support for Gore compared to previous polling when only 50% of the neutral group disapproved of his actions.

Lieberman Suffering As Well
Al Gore's vice-presidential running mate, Joseph Lieberman, has not been spared the public's criticism in this post-election period, perhaps because of the high profile role he has taken in defending the Gore team's challenge to the Florida election. When Lieberman was first announced as Gore's selection for vice-president, he enjoyed highly favorable ratings from the public, with 58% viewing him favorably and only 12% unfavorably (the remaining 30% had no opinion of Lieberman at that early stage). Lieberman's unfavorable rating rose to 23% in mid-November and is now 30%. Less than half of Americans, 47%, currently have a favorable view of him, while 23% continue to have no opinion.

Over the same time period, ratings for the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Dick Cheney, have remained positive. Today, 58% of Americans have a favorable view of him and just 23% have an unfavorable view. Cheney may be benefiting from some public sympathy over his health problems since the election, although the fact that support for Bush has also remained fairly high in this period suggests that Cheney's heart problems may not be a major factor sustaining his positive image.

Survey Methods

The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,026 adults, 18 years and older, conducted December 2-4, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of this person -- or if you have never heard of him. How about... [Random order]

Al Gore


Favor
able


Unfav-
orable

Never heard
of


No opinion

%

%

%

%

2000

(NA) 2000 Dec 2-4

46

52

*

2

(NA) 2000 Nov 13-15

53

44

*

3

(RV) 2000 Nov 13-15

54

44

*

2

(RV) 2000 Nov 4-5

56

39

*

5

(RV) 2000 Oct 24-26

53

42

*

5

(RV) 2000 Oct 23-25

55

40

*

5

(RV) 2000 Oct 20-22

57

39

*

4

(RV) 2000 Oct 5-7

57

37

*

6

(RV) 2000 Sep 28-30

61

31

0

8

(RV) 2000 Sep 15-17

62

30

*

8

(NA) 2000 Aug 18-19

64

30

*

6

(NA) 2000 Aug 4-5

52

42

1

5

(NA) 2000 Jul 25-26

56

38

*

6

(NA) 2000 Jul 14-16

58

34

1

7

(NA) 2000 Jun 23-25

52

39

1

8

(NA) 2000 Jun 6-7

59

35

*

6

(NA) 2000 Apr 28-30

53

38

1

8

(NA) 2000 Mar 10-12

59

36

1

4

(NA) 2000 Feb 25-27

59

35

1

5

(NA) 2000 Feb 20-21

56

37

1

6

(NA) 2000 Feb 4-6

57

37

1

5

(NA) 2000 Jan 17-19

56

38

*

6

1999

(NA) 1999 Dec 20-21

57

36

1

6

(NA) 1999 Dec 9-12

54

42

*

4

(NA) 1999 Oct 21-24

58

36

*

6

(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10

54

42

1

3

(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26

55

40

*

5

(NA) 1999 Aug 16-18

58

37

*

5

(NA) 1999 Aug 3-4

52

40

1

7

(NA) 1999 Jul 22-25

53

35

1

11

(NA 1999 Jun 25-27

56

39

1

4

(NA) 1999 Apr 30-May 2

55

37

1

7

(NA) 1999 Apr 13-14

54

39

1

6

(NA) 1999 Feb 19-21

59

33

1

7

(NA) 1999 Feb 4-8

61

31

*

8

1998

(NA) 1998 Dec 28-29

57

28

1

14

(NA) 1998 Sep 14-15

56

32

2

10

(NA) 1998 Feb 13-15

57

33

2

8

(NA) 1998 Jan 30-Feb 1

62

31

1

6

(NA) 1998 Jan 24-25

56

32

1

11

(NA) 1998 Jan 23-24

55

33

1

11

1997

(NA) 1997 Dec 18-21

50

37

3

10

(NA) 1997 Oct 27-29

53

38

1

8

(NA) 1997 Oct 3-5

47

42

1

10

(NA) 1997 Sep 25-28

51

39

2

8

(NA) 1997 Sep 6-7

55

32

3

10

(NA) 1997 Jun 26-29

57

32

1

9

(NA) 1997 Apr 18-20

56

34

1

9

(NA) 1997 Mar 24-26

57

31

2

10

(NA) 1997 Jan 3-5

60

26

2

12

1996

(LV) 1996 Oct 26-29

61

31

1

7

(RV) 1996 Aug 30- Sep 1

61

27

2

10

(RV) 1996 Aug 28-29

60

26

2

12

(RV) 1996 16-18

59

30

*

11

(RV) 1996 Aug 11

59

29

1

11

(NA) 1996 Jan 12-15

52

34

2

12

1995

(NA) 1995 Jan 16-18

57

29

3

11

(NA) 1994 Sep 6-7

56

31

2

11

(NA) 1994 Apr 22-24

60

28

2

10

(NA) 1994Mar 25-27

56

29

2

13

(NA) 1994 Jan 15-17

62

26

3

9

1993

(NA) 1993 Nov 2-4

49

30

--

21

(NA) 1993 Jul 19-21

55

30

--

15

(NA) 1993 Apr 22-24

55

24

--

21

(NA) 1993 Jan 18-19

63

22

--

15

1992

(NA) 1992 Nov 10-11

56

28

--

16



George W. Bush

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never heard of

No opinion

%

%

%

%

(NA) 2000 Dec 2-4

56

40

*

4

(NA) 2000 Nov 13-15

53

43

*

4

(RV) 2000 Nov 13-15

54

43

*

3

(RV) 2000 Nov 4-5

55

39

*

6

(RV) 2000 Oct 24-26

62

33

*

5

(RV) 2000 Oct 23-25

60

35

*

5

(RV) 2000 Oct 20-22

59

37

*

4

(RV) 2000 Oct 5-7

58

36

*

6

(RV) 2000 Sep 28-30

55

38

0

7

(RV) 2000 Sep 15-17

51

41

1

7

(NA) 2000 Aug 18-19

60

34

*

6

(NA) 2000 Aug 4-5

67

28

*

5

(NA) 2000 Jul 25-26

63

31

*

6

(NA) 2000 Jul 14-16

64

29

*

7

(NA) 2000 Jun 23-25

60

31

0

9

(NA) 2000 Jun 6-7

64

29

0

7

(NA) 2000 Apr 28-30

61

33

*

6

(NA) 2000 Mar 10-12

63

32

*

5

(NA) 2000 Feb 25-27

57

35

1

7

(NA) 2000 Feb 20-21

58

35

*

7

(NA) 2000 Feb 4-6

63

31

0

6

(NA) 2000 Jan 17-19

66

26

*

8

(NA) 1999 Dec 9-12

68

25

1

6

(NA) 1999 Oct 21-24

71

21

1

7

(NA) 1999 Oct 8-10

70

25

1

4

(NA) 1999 Sep 23-26

71

22

1

6

(NA) 1999 Aug 16-18

68

21

1

10

(NA) 1999 Jun 25-27

69

16

4

11

(NA) 1999 Apr 13-14

73

15

3

9

(NA) 1999 Feb 19-21

69

12

5

14



Dick Cheney

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never heard of

No opinion

%

%

%

%

(NA) 2000 Dec 2-4

58

23

8

11

(NA) 2000 Nov 13-15

51

22

9

18

(RV) 2000 Nov 13-15

53

22

8

17

(RV) 2000 Sep 15-17

46

24

8

22

(RV) 2000 Aug 18-19

54

21

5

20

(RV) 2000 Aug 4-5

48

21

9

22

(RV) 2000 Jul 25-26

51

14

12

23

(Republicans) 1994 Mar 28-30 ^

49

21

16

14

^ Based on 466 Republicans; Asked: "Former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney."


Joe Lieberman

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never heard of

No opinion

%

%

%

%

(NA) 2000 Dec 2-4

47

30

11

12

(NA) 2000 Nov 13-15

48

23

8

21

(RV) 2000 Nov 13-15

50

23

8

19

(RV) 2000 Sep 15-17

52

17

9

22

(RV) 2000 Aug 18-19

58

12

9

21



GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

Would you say that you strongly approve, approve, disapprove, or strongly disapprove of the way each of the following has handled the situation surrounding the results of the election for president? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. George W. Bush and his campaign advisers

Strongly approve


Approve


Disapprove

Strongly disapprove

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

National Adults

2000 Dec 2-4

11

46

32

9

2

2000 Nov 26-27

11

43

32

9

5

2000 Nov 19

7

48

31

9

5

2000 Nov 11-12

12

41

32

9

6

Gore supporters

2000 Dec 2-4

1

23

55

19

2

2000 Nov 26-27

1

25

52

19

3

2000 Nov 19

1

30

47

17

5

2000 Nov 11-12

1

29

48

18

4

Bush supporters

2000 Dec 2-4

22

69

8

1

*

2000 Nov 26-27

25

61

11

1

2

2000 Nov 19

15

72

11

1

1

2000 Nov 11-12

30

57

9

1

3

No preference

2000 Dec 2-4

5

33

48

12

2

2000 Nov 26-27

3

38

42

4

13


B. Al Gore and his campaign advisers

Strongly approve


Approve


Disapprove

Strongly Disapprove

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

National Adults

2000 Dec 2-4

7

32

36

24

1

2000 Nov 26-27

9

33

35

19

4

2000 Nov 19

8

40

36

13

3

2000 Nov 11-12

11

41

29

15

4

Gore supporters

2000 Dec 2-4

16

63

16

3

2

2000 Nov 26-27

20

59

17

3

1

2000 Nov 19

17

68

9

2

4

2000 Nov 11-12

21

64

12

2

1

Bush supporters

2000 Dec 2-4

1

7

47

44

1

2000 Nov 26-27

*

9

49

40

2

2000 Nov 19

1

9

63

27

*

2000 Nov 11-12

1

16

46

34

3

No preference

2000 Dec 2-4

3

23

55

18

1

2000 Nov 26-27

2

34

44

6

14


SUMMARY OF GORE/BUSH APPROVAL AND DISAPPROVAL

2000 Dec 2-4

2000 Nov 26-27

2000 Nov 19

%

%

%

Approve of both Gore and Bush

13

17

20

Approve of Gore, Disapprove of Bush

26

25

27

Approve of Bush, Disapprove of Gore

43

37

35

Disapprove of both Gore and Bush

17

17

13

Other/No opinion

1

4

5


If Al Gore is declared the winner and is inaugurated next January, would you accept him as the legitimate president, or not?

Yes, accept

No, not accept

No opinion

%

%

%

National adults

2000 Dec 2-4

71

28

1

2000 Nov 26-27

74

25

1

2000 Nov 19

80

19

1

2000 Nov 11-12

82

16

2

Gore supporters

2000 Dec 2-4

97

2

1

2000 Nov 26-27

97

2

1

2000 Nov 19

98

2

*

2000 Nov 11-12

97

1

2

Bush supporters

2000 Dec 2-4

46

52

2

2000 Nov 26-27

46

53

1

2000 Nov 19

58

41

1

2000Nov 11-12

66

31

3

No preference

2000 Dec 2-4

76

22

2

2000 Nov 26-27

88

9

3


If George W. Bush is declared the winner and is inaugurated next January, would you accept him as the legitimate president, or not?

Yes, accept

No, not accept

No opinion

%

%

%

National Adults

2000 Dec 2-4

85

14

1

2000 Nov 26-27

84

15

1

2000 Nov 19

86

13

1

2000 Nov 11-12

79

19

2

Gore supporters

2000 Dec 2-4

68

31

1

2000 Nov 26-27

65

33

2

2000 Nov 19

72

26

2

2000 Nov 11-12

61

36

3

Bush supporters

2000 Dec 2-4

100

*

0

2000 Nov 26-27

100

*

0

2000 Nov 19

98

2

0

2000 Nov 11-12

97

1

2

No preference

2000 Dec 2-4

85

13

2

2000 Nov 26-27

92

6

2


Who would you most prefer to be the next president -- [ROTATED: Al Gore (or) George W. Bush], or don't you have a preference?

Gore

Bush

Unsure

No opinion

2000 Dec 2-4

40%

46

13

1

2000 Nov 26-27

40%

42

17

1

2000 Nov 19

45%

42

12

1



*Less than 0.5%

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