Politics

Bush and Gore Evenly Matched on Issues

But Bush fares better on character dimensions

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- George W. Bush and Al Gore appear to be fairly evenly matched on a series of major issues tested in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup polling conducted Monday through Wednesday of this week, but the Texas governor has an edge over the vice president on several character and leadership dimensions. Bush is more likely than Gore to be seen as honest, sincere, and a strong and decisive leader, although Gore beats Bush on the ability to understand complex issues. The poll also shows that Bush's record in Texas appears to be a net positive for the governor, giving a little over half of likely voters greater confidence in Bush's ability to serve as president.

Five Issues
Polling conducted October 23-25 suggests that Bush and Gore are now roughly evenly matched on who voters say can better handle Medicare, the economy, Social Security, and education. On the issue of taxes, Bush has a nine-point edge over Gore.

SUMMARY OF GORE/BUSH ADVANTAGE ON ISSUES

Based on Likely Voters

 

Gore

Bush

Advantage

 

%

%

%

       

Medicare

46

44

+2

The economy

45

45

0

Social Security

45

46

-1

Education

44

48

-4

Taxes

41

50

-9

 

+ Advantage indicates Gore lead
- Advantage indicates Bush lead

The even positioning of the two candidates on Medicare, the economy, Social Security and education represents a change from surveys conducted in mid-August, immediately after the Democratic convention, and from surveys conducted in September. During both periods of time, Gore led Bush on all four items. Immediately after the Republican convention, however, Bush beat Gore on the issues tested. Earlier in the year, the picture was more mixed -- at least in terms of the economy and education, on which the two candidates were about evenly matched.

Character and Leadership Dimensions
The poll asked voters to choose which candidate best fits each of eight specific character descriptions. The dimensions on which voters make the biggest distinctions in choosing between Bush and Gore are ones that fit conventional wisdom as portrayed in media accounts: Gore is selected over Bush in terms of "understanding complex issues," while Bush wins out on the "honesty and trustworthiness" dimension.

The two candidates are roughly tied on three other dimensions -- "can manage the government effectively," "is more in touch with the average voter," and "cares about the needs of people like you," while Bush bests Gore on three others -- "shares your values," "is a strong and decisive leader" and "is sincere in what he says."

SUMMARY OF GORE/BUSH ADVANTAGE ON CHARACTER

Based on Likely Voters

 

Gore

Bush

Advantage

 

%

%

%

       

Understands complex issues

45

38

+7

Can manage the government effectively

42

44

-2

Is more in touch with the average voter

41

43

-2

Cares about the needs of people like you

41

44

-3

Shares your values

39

48

-9

Is a strong and decisive leader

38

48

-10

Is sincere in what he says

35

47

-12

Is honest and trustworthy

33

47

-14

       

+ Advantage indicates Gore lead
- Advantage indicates Bush lead

For the most part, these are not new distinctions. Voters have been asked to choose between the two candidates on the "honest" dimension five times since July, and Bush has won each time -- except immediately after the Democratic convention in mid-August, when Gore was selected over Bush by a 42% to 39% margin.

The "understands complex issues" dimension has been measured six times, and Gore has won it in all three polls conducted since the Democratic convention. He also did better than Bush on this dimension in April. Bush managed to edge out Gore on this "understanding" dimension in a poll conducted in late July, immediately before the Republican convention, and in early August, just after that convention.

The one dimension on which Bush has consistently held the advantage over Gore is the measure of who best fits the description of being "a strong and decisive leader." Although the margin has varied, Bush has been selected over Gore each of the six times this has been asked -- by a margin as wide as 31 points immediately after the GOP convention in August.

Bush's Record as Governor of Texas
A little more than half of likely voters say that George W. Bush's record as governor of Texas makes them more confident in his ability to handle the job of president, while about a third say that his record makes them less confident.

Does the job George W. Bush has done as governor of Texas make you [ROTATED: more confident in his ability to handle the job of president (or) less confident in his ability to handle the job of president]?

 

 

More
confident

Less
confident

NO EFFECT
(vol.)

No
opinion

         

Likely Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

55%

32

6

7

         

(vol.) Volunteered response

     


There are divisions by party on this dimension, in a predictable manner. Democrats are likely to say that Bush's record as governor makes them less confident, while Republicans and to a lesser extent independents say that his record makes them more confident.

Is There a Candidate Running Who Would Make a Good President?
A significant majority of voters think there is at least one candidate running for president this year who would make a good president, and this perception is actually higher now than it was early this year as the campaign season got underway:

Based on what you may have heard or read so far about the campaign and the candidates, is there any candidate running this year that you think would make a good president, or not?

 

 


Yes


No

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

Likely Voters

     

2000 Oct 23-25

78

16

6

       

2000 Mar 10-12

79

17

4

2000 Jan 7-10

61

33

6

       

Registered Voters

     

2000 Oct 23-25

71

23

6

       

2000 Mar 10-12

73

22

5

2000 Jan 7-10

57

35

8

       

National Adults

     

1996 May 9-12

57

39

4

1992 Oct 23-25

68

26

6

1992 Sep 11-15

61

32

7

1992 Apr 20-22

47

44

9

1992 Jan 6-9

40

41

19



Over three-quarters of likely voters answer yes to this question about acceptable candidates, compared to just 61% who answered yes back in January.

There are differences in response to this question by political orientation. Republicans, conservatives and Bush voters are most likely to be satisfied with the candidates running this year, while Democrats, independents, liberals and Gore voters are least likely to be satisfied.

 

Based on what you may have heard or read so far about the campaign and the candidates, is there any candidate running this year that you think would make a good president, or not?

 

 


Yes


No

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

Likely Voters

     
       

Republicans

85

12

3

Independents

71

22

7

Democrats

76

15

9

       

Bush Voters

84

13

3

Gore Voters

75

18

7

       

Conservative

82

13

5

Moderate

77

19

4

Liberal

68

22

10

       


Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with -- 1,180 -- national adults, aged 18+, conducted October 23-25, 2000. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points.

Results based on the subsample of -- 929 -- people who indicate they are registered to vote have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points.

Results based on likely voters are based on the subsample of -- 678 -- survey respondents deemed most likely to vote in the November 2000 general election, according to a series of questions measuring current voting intentions and past voting behavior. For results based on the total sample of likely voters, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is +/- 4 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.

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

Next, regardless of which presidential candidate you support, please tell me if you think Al Gore or George W. Bush would better handle each of the following issues. How about … [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. The economy

 

 

Gore

Bush

SAME (vol.)

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

45

45

2

8

         

2000 Sep 11-13

52

40

1

7

2000 Aug 18-19

48

44

5

3

2000 Aug 4-5

39

53

4

4

2000 Jul 25-26

38

51

3

8

2000 Apr 28-30

43

45

4

8

2000 Mar 10-12

46

45

5

4

         

Registered Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

45

44

2

9

         

2000 Sep 11-13

52

37

2

9

2000 Aug 18-19

48

42

5

5

2000 Aug 4-5

38

54

3

5

2000 Jul 25-26

40

47

3

10

2000 Apr 28-30

43

45

4

8

2000 Mar 10-12

47

44

4

5

         

National Adults

       

1999 Jun 11-13

35

55

2

8



 

B. Taxes

 

 

Gore

Bush

SAME (vol.)

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

41

50

2

7

         

2000 Sep 11-13

46

45

1

8

2000 Aug 18-19

43

49

2

6

2000 Aug 4-5

35

57

2

6

2000 Jul 25-26

35

54

4

7

2000 Apr 28-30

35

54

4

7

2000 Mar 10-12

38

52

5

5

         

Registered Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

42

47

2

9

         

2000 Sep 11-13

46

41

2

11

2000 Aug 18-19

45

45

3

7

2000 Aug 4-5

35

55

3

7

2000 Jul 25-26

37

50

3

10

2000 Apr 28-30

37

50

3

10

2000 Mar 10-12

41

49

4

6



 

 

C. Social Security

 

 

Gore

Bush

SAME (vol.)

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

45

46

2

7

         

2000 Sep 11-13

52

40

2

6

2000 Aug 18-19

51

42

4

3

2000 Aug 4-5

39

52

4

5

2000 Jul 25-26

44

47

3

6

         

Registered Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

45

44

2

9

         

2000 Sep 11-13

52

36

3

9

2000 Aug 18-19

53

39

4

4

2000 Aug 4-5

37

53

4

6

2000 Jul 25-26

45

43

2

10



 

D. Medicare

 

Gore

Bush

SAME (vol.)

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

46

44

3

7

         

2000 Sep 11-13

54

37

1

8

2000 Aug 18-19

55

37

4

4

2000 Aug 4-5

41

49

4

6

2000 Jul 25-26

47

42

3

8

         

Registered Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

47

41

3

9

         

2000 Sep 11-13

56

32

2

10

2000 Aug 18-19

55

35

4

6

2000 Aug 4-5

41

48

4

7

2000 Jul 25-26

48

39

3

10



 

 

F. Education

 

 

Gore

Bush

SAME (vol.)

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

44

48

2

6

         

2000 Sep 11-13

50

41

3

6

2000 Aug 18-19

48

43

5

4

2000 Aug 4-5

39

53

4

4

2000 Jul 25-26

42

47

5

6

2000 Apr 28-30

46

44

4

6

2000 Mar 10-12

48

40

6

6

         

Registered Voters

       

2000 Oct 23-25

46

44

2

8

         

2000 Sep 11-13

51

37

3

9

2000 Aug 18-19

50

40

5

5

2000 Aug 4-5

40

52

3

5

2000 Jul 25-26

45

43

4

8

2000 Apr 28-30

46

42

5

7

2000 Mar 10-12

49

39

6

6



GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each one applies more to Al Gore or more to George W. Bush. How about… [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. Shares your values

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/
SAME
(vol.)

NEITHER
(vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

39

48

4

5

4

           

2000 Oct 6-8

42

47

4

4

3

2000 Aug 18-19

47

44

3

3

3

2000 Aug 4-5

39

52

5

2

3

2000 Jul 25-26

39

52

2

3

4

2000 Apr 28-30

40

46

5

5

4

           

Registered Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

41

45

4

5

5

           

2000 Oct 6-8

45

42

4

5

4

2000 Aug 18-19

48

41

4

4

3

2000 Aug 4-5

38

52

5

2

3

2000 Jul 25-26

40

46

3

5

6

2000 Apr 28-30

40

43

5

7

5



 

B. Cares about the needs of people like you

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/
SAME
(vol.)

NEITHER
(vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

41

44

6

5

4

           

2000 Oct 6-8

44

46

4

4

2

2000 Aug 18-19

49

40

6

4

1

2000 Aug 4-5

40

50

5

3

2

2000 Jul 25-26

43

46

5

2

4

2000 Apr 28-30

42

42

5

7

4

           

Registered Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

43

42

5

6

4

           

2000 Oct 6-8

47

40

5

5

3

2000 Aug 18-19

50

37

6

5

2

2000 Aug 4-5

39

50

5

3

3

2000 Jul 25-26

42

43

5

4

6

2000 Apr 28-30

42

41

3

9

5

1999 Jun 4-5

44

44

4

3

5



C. Is a strong and decisive leader

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/
SAME
(vol.)

NEITHER
(vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

38

48

6

5

3

           

2000 Oct 6-8

38

48

4

6

4

2000 Aug 18-19

39

50

5

3

3

2000 Aug 4-5

29

60

5

4

2

2000 Jul 25-26

30

58

5

2

5

2000 Apr 28-30

33

51

4

7

5

           

Registered Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

38

47

5

6

4

           

2000 Oct 6-8

41

43

4

7

5

2000 Aug 18-19

40

47

7

3

3

2000 Aug 4-5

28

61

4

4

3

2000 Jul 25-26

32

54

4

3

7

2000 Apr 28-30

31

51

4

8

6

1999 Jun 4-5

61

29

3

2

5



 

E. Can manage government effectively

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/
SAME
(vol.)

NEITHER
(vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

42

44

6

2

6

           

2000 Oct 6-8

44

45

4

3

4

2000 Aug 18-19

43

44

8

3

2

2000 Aug 4-5

34

53

7

3

3

2000 Jul 25-26

37

51

6

1

5

2000 Apr 28-30

40

49

5

3

3

           

Registered Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

43

42

6

3

6

           

2000 Oct 6-8

45

40

5

4

6

2000 Aug 18-19

44

41

9

3

3

2000 Aug 4-5

32

54

7

4

3

2000 Jul 25-26

38

48

5

2

7

2000 Apr 28-30

41

45

4

5

5



 

G. Is honest and trustworthy

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/
SAME
(vol.)

NEITHER
(vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

33

47

6

10

4

           

2000 Oct 6-8

34

48

6

8

4

2000 Aug 18-19

42

39

11

6

2

2000 Aug 4-5

32

49

11

6

2

2000 Jul 25-26

34

49

6

6

5

           

Registered Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

33

44

6

12

5

           

2000 Oct 6-8

37

42

6

10

5

2000 Aug 18-19

44

37

11

6

2

2000 Aug 4-5

30

50

10

7

3

2000 Jul 25-26

37

43

6

7

7



H. Understands complex issues

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/
SAME
(vol.)

NEITHER
(vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

45

38

7

4

6

           

2000 Oct 6-8

47

36

10

3

4

2000 Aug 18-19

44

39

10

3

4

2000 Aug 4-5

39

46

9

3

3

2000 Jul 25-26

41

45

6

2

6

2000 Apr 28-30

45

37

9

5

4

           

Registered Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

46

36

7

4

7

           

2000 Oct 6-8

48

34

10

3

5

2000 Aug 18-19

46

37

10

3

4

2000 Aug 4-5

37

48

8

3

4

2000 Jul 25-26

42

42

6

2

8

2000 Apr 28-30

41

37

9

6

7



J. Is more in touch with the average voter

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/
SAME
(vol.)

NEITHER
(vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

41

43

6

5

5

           

Registered Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

43

41

6

5

5



 

K. Is sincere in what he says

 

 


Gore


Bush

BOTH/
SAME
(vol.)

NEITHER
(vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

35

47

7

7

4

           

Registered Voters

         

2000 Oct 23-25

36

44

6

10

4

           
           
           

(vol.) Volunteered response



Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/2386/Bush-Gore-Evenly-Matched-Issues.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030