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Bush Continues to Dominate Republican Field in 2000 Election

Elizabeth Dole drops back in pack

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Texas Governor George W. Bush has expanded his commanding lead as the number one choice of Republicans for their party's nomination for president next year, and is maintaining a comfortable lead over Vice President Al Gore in trial heat polling representing the general election.

Both Bush and Gore have received a great degree of publicity over the past several weeks as they have formally announced their campaigns and have made obligatory campaign swings through New Hampshire, Iowa and other states with critical campaign primaries. For Bush, these weeks were the first chance that many Americans outside of Texas have had to observe the candidate who since earlier this year has emerged as the man to beat in next year's election.

The initial impact of the last few weeks' activities, as measured by a new Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll completed on Sunday, reveals nothing but positive news for the Texas governor. Bush's lock on Republican voters has never been stronger. His lead over his closest rival, Elizabeth Dole, has expanded from 32 points earlier this month, to an impressive 51 points today. Bush currently gets the support of 59% of Republicans as their first choice for the Republican nomination, compared to only 8% for Elizabeth Dole. This represents a significant downturn for the former Red Cross president, who as recently as early May was the clear second choice behind Bush, with 24% of the vote. Accentuating the bad news for Dole: she is no longer doing better than a number of the other Republican contenders, including former Vice President Dan Quayle and businessman Steve Forbes, who come in at 6% of the vote, and Arizona Senator John McCain, with 5%.

This weekend's poll included for the first time newly announced candidate Orrin Hatch. The senator from Utah has a way to go before his presence as an active candidate has an impact on the Republican field; he gets only 2% of the Republican vote.

Republicans were asked in this most recent poll to name their second choice for the nomination. Here Elizabeth Dole does somewhat better, coming in with a combined total of 35% of first- and second-choice votes, putting her ahead of Dan Quayle, who has 16%, John McCain, with 15%, and Steve Forbes, with 13%. Bush, of course, leads with a 75% combined total.

On the Democratic side of the ledger, Vice President Al Gore overwhelms his only announced challenger for the Democratic nomination, former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, by a 64% to 28% margin, essentially unchanged from previous polls taken over the past several months.

When Bush and Gore are matched up among all voters in a hypothetical general election trial heat, Bush beats Gore, 56% to 41%. This margin is highly similar to that of previous Gallup election polls conducted since March, suggesting that all of the drama and publicity of recent weeks has done nothing to shake up the race and allow Gore to make gains on front-runner Bush.

The fact that both parties have established such strong front-runners this early in the election cycle is perceived as a more negative state of affairs among Democrats than among Republicans. When asked whether it would be better for their party to have a clear front-runner, or for there to be a "number of strong candidates competing for the nomination," 61% of Republicans chose the former, compared to only 36% who wanted competition among candidates. Democrats, on the other hand, are slightly more likely to want a number of strong candidates rather than an early front-runner, by a 50% to 46% margin, perhaps reflecting their dissatisfaction with Gore's lagging support in pre-election polls.

The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,016 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 25-27, 1999. 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, I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Republican primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for president in the year 2000. [RANDOM ORDER: Former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander, Family Research Council Chairman Gary Bauer, Political commentator Patrick Buchanan, Texas Governor George W. Bush, Former Red Cross Director Elizabeth Dole, Businessman Steve Forbes, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, Ohio Congressman John Kasich, Arizona Senator John McCain, Former Vice President Dan Quayle, New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith]

BASED ON -- 444 -- REPUBLICANS/REPUBLICAN LEANERS; MARGIN OF SAMPLING ERROR = ± 5 PCT. PTS.

  REPUBLICAN LIST: FIRST MENTION
  1998 May 8-10 1998 Oct 23-25 1999 Jan 8-10 1999 Mar 12-14 1999 Apr 13-14 1999 Apr 30-May 2 1999 May 23-24 1999 Jun 4-5 1999 Jun 25-27
On Current List:
Lamar Alexander 2% 4% 4% 2% *% 3% 1% 3% 2%
Gary Bauer 1 -- 2 1 2 3 2 1 2
Patrick Buchanan 3 -- -- 4 4 5 6 6 3
George W. Bush 30 39 42 52 53 42 46 46 59
Elizabeth Dole 14 17 22 20 16 24 18 14 8
Steve Forbes 7 7 5 1 6 6 5 5 6
Orrin Hatch -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 2
John Kasich 1 4 2 3 2 1 2 1 3
John McCain 4 -- 8 3 5 4 6 5 5
Dan Quayle 9 12 6 9 7 6 7 9 6
Bob Smith -- -- 1 1 * * 2 1 1
Off Current List:
Jack Kemp 9 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
John Ashcroft 0 4 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Newt Gingrich 6 4 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Other (vol.) 2 1 1 1 * * * * *
None/Wouldn't vote 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 2 1
No opinion 10 6 6 2 3 3 4 7 2
  100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

* Included in list but chosen by less than 0.5 percent
-- Candidate's name not included in list for that survey (either because person had not yet announced candidacy, or because candidate had dropped out of the race)

Next, I'm going to read a list of people who may be running in the Democratic primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president in the year 2000? [ROTATE: Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, Vice President Al Gore]

BASED ON -- 483 -- DEMOCRATS/DEMOCRAT LEANERS; MARGIN OF SAMPLING ERROR = ± 5

  DEMOCRATIC LIST: FIRST MENTION
  1998 May 8-10 1998 Oct 23-25 1999 Jan 8-10 1999 Mar 12-14 1999 Apr 13-14 1999 Apr 30-May 2 1999 May 23-24 1999 Jun 4-5 1999 Jun 25-27
On Current List:
Bill Bradley 8% 15% 12% 21% 34% 23% 30% 28% 28%
Al Gore 51 41 47 58 54 66 59 63 64
Off Current List:
Dick Gephardt 7 14 13 -- -- -- -- -- --
Jesse Jackson 12 11 11 15 -- -- -- -- --
Bob Kerrey 3 4 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
John Kerry 2 4 5 -- -- -- -- -- --
Paul Wellstone 1 1 1 -- -- -- -- -- --
Other (vol.) 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 * 1
None/Wouldn't vote 1 1 3 4 3 4 4 3 3
No opinion 12 8 7 2 8 6 7 6 4
  100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

* Included in list but chosen by less than 0.5 percent
-- Candidate's name not included in list for that survey (either because person had not yet announced candidacy, or because candidate had dropped out of the race)

If Vice President Al Gore were the Democratic Party's candidate and Texas Governor George W. Bush were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for -- [ROTATE: Al Gore, the Democrat (or), George W. Bush, the Republican]?

As of today, do you lean more toward -- [ROTATE: Al Gore, the Democrat (or), George W. Bush, the Republican]?

  Al Gore George W. Bush No opinion
99 Jun 25-27 41% 56% 3%
99 Jun 4-5 40 56 4
99 May 23-24 40 54 6
99 Apr 30-May 2 40 56 4
99 Apr 13-14 38 59 3
99 Mar 12-14 41 56 3
99 Mar 5-7 41 56 3
99 Feb 19-21 43 54 3
99 Jan 8-10 47 48 5
98 May 8-10 46 50 4

(vol.) volunteered response

Gallup


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