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POLL: McCain the most popular presidential candidate nationwide

Arizona senator beats Gore in hypothetical match-up; First Lady has uphill climb in New York Senate race

February 7, 2000
Web posted at: 5:05 p.m. EST (2205 GMT)

Arizona Sen. John McCain is now the most popular presidential candidate among likely voters nationwide, and for the first time, McCain has more support than George W. Bush in hypothetical match-ups against Al Gore, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.

The poll, conducted February 4-6, consisted of interviews with 1,018 Americans -- including 386 registered Democrats and 401 registered Republicans.

If the election were held today, 58 percent of all likely voters would choose McCain and 36 percent would pick Gore. In the same scenario, Bush would beat Gore by a smaller 53 percent to 44 percent margin. McCain also possesses a larger lead than Bush over former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley.

Over half of all registered voters nationwide still want Bush as the party's nominee, but McCain's share of the GOP vote has more than doubled since mid-January.

The number of likely voters with a favorable view of McCain has jumped 16 points, to 76 percent, the highest favorable rating of any presidential candidate nationwide. There was little or no change in the other candidates' favorable ratings during the same period.

More bad news for Bush: nearly two-thirds of all registered Republicans say that they would prefer a candidate who is not tied to the party's leaders. That indicates that Bush's ace-in-the-hole -- endorsements and organizational support from officeholders around the country -- could be used against him.

That's far less of a problem for Gore. A majority of Democrats say they prefer a candidate who is loyal to the party, a key reason why Gore has maintained a hefty lead over Bradley.

However, the election is still nine months away, and with so many primaries, debates and other events remaining on the political calendar, public opinion is guaranteed to change repeatedly.

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
Likely voters' opinion of McCain
                  Now    January

Favorable         67%      51%
Unfavorable       12       17
Unsure            13       22
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL

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 each person.

              Favorable       Unfavorable
McCain        67%             12 
Bradley       63              18
Bush          63              31
Gore          57              37
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
If Vice President Al Gore were the Democratic Party's candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for?

             Now      January

McCain       58%      52%
Gore         36       42
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
If Vice President Al Gore were the Democratic Party's candidate and Texas Gov. George W. Bush were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for?

             Now    January
Bush         53%    53%
Gore         44     41
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
If former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley were the Democratic Party's candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for?

           Now    January
McCain     58%     47%
Bradley    35      43
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
If former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley were the Democratic Party's candidate and Texas Gov. George W. Bush were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for?

             Now    January
Bush         55%     49%
Bradley      41      45
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
Which candidate would you be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for president this year? (Asked of Registered/Leaning Republicans)

             Now    January
Bush         56%     65%
McCain       34      15
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
Which candidate would you be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for president this year? (Asked of Registered/Leaning Republicans)

Bush         56%
McCain       34
Keyes         3
Forbes        2
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
Which candidate would you be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president this year? (Registered/Leaning Democrats)

           Now   January
Gore       65%     67%
Bradley    24      21
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
Which of the following two types of candidates would you rather have as your party's nominee for president -- one who is loyal to your party (or) one who is not tied to your party's leaders?

                      Democrats    Republicans
Is loyal to party     51%          30%
Is not tied to        43           64
 party leaders
Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Hillary Clinton has a positive image, but ratings continue to tumble

Americans have generally favorable views of Hillary Clinton but her ratings have tumbled from a year ago when she first began to seriously consider running for the Senate from New York. Despite those favorable opinions of the first lady, Americans don't necessarily want to see her in the U.S. Senate.

Forty-nine percent of all Americans said they would vote against her if they lived in New York; 46 percent would vote for her. That's in contrast to the two-thirds who approve of the way she has handled her job as first lady, and the 69 percent who say she has had a positive influence on her husband's administration.

Her approval rating is down from a high of 80 percent last February, but it is worth noting that those approval ratings may have been artificially high because of sympathy for her in the midst of the impeachment crisis.

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
Suppose you lived in New York State, would you vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton for senator, or not?

Yes      46%
No       49
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Hillary Rodham Clinton is handling her job as First Lady?

               Now        February 1999
Approve        65%        80%
Disapprove     30         17
Sampling error: +/-3% pts

CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL
Do you think Hillary Clinton's influence has been generally positive or generally negative on the Clinton Administration?

Positive        69%
Negative        25
Sampling error: +/-3% pts


 
ELECTION 2000


WHAT'S AT STAKE


RACES
If you need to know who's up in 1999 or 2000 and what seats are open launch this quick guide.


THE STATES
Who are your elected officials? What is the past presidential vote and number of electoral votes in your state? Find out with these state political and election facts.


POLLS
Check out the latest numbers or dig back into the poll archives.


MESSAGE BOARDS



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Monday, February 7, 2000


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