Gore seen mimicking Clinton voting patterns in Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA, (Reuters) - Vice President Al Gore appears to be attracting the same coalition of Pennsylvania voters that delivered the key election year swing state for President Clinton in 1996, a university polling center said Wednesday.
With the Democratic nominee and his Republican rival, George W. Bush, battling for the state's 23 Electoral College votes, a polling analysis report from Millersville University showed Gore with a clear edge among women, middle income voters, senior citizens and Roman Catholics.
Clinton defeated his Republican rival Bob Dole by nine percentage points in Pennsylvania in 1996, with 10 points going to Reform Party candidate and Texas billionaire Ross Perot.
"The 2000 presidential election in Pennsylvania is beginning to look very much like the 1996 election," the Millersville University Center for Politics & Public Affairs said in a release. "Al Gore's support is similar to the coalition forged by Bill Clinton."
The results, released in a special report, come from a Keystone Poll of 603 voters that put the vice president 13 percentage points ahead of Bush, the Texas governor, with a 4 percent margin of error. Published last week, the Sept. 28-Oct. 1 survey gave Green Party candidate Ralph Nader 2 percent and Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan 1 percent.
Pennsylvania, the fifth largest state in terms of Electoral College votes, is one of half a dozen major battlegrounds where the two main candidates and their parties have been campaigning heavily and pouring millions of dollars into television ads.
Analysts say that if Pennsylvania drifts decisively away from Bush, the Republican will be under heightened pressure to do well in other swing states, including Florida, to win the 270 Electoral College votes needed for the White House.
The Keystone Poll analysis showed that:
--Among women, Gore is doing better against Bush at 53-31 percent than Clinton did against Dole, at 53-37 percent;
--Bush has a one-percentage point edge among Pennsylvania men, who favored Clinton over Dole by five percentage points;
--Among an important swing group of voters with incomes ranging from $30,000 to $50,000, the vice president holds a 53-34 percentage point lead; the same voters favored Clinton by 49-39 percent.
--In a state that some say has a senior citizen population second only to Florida's, elderly voters give Gore a slight 43-40 percentage edge after favoring Clinton 48-46 percent four years ago;
--Pennsylvania's large Roman Catholic population favors Gore 53 to 34 percent, compared with a 53-36 percent split for Clinton in 1996.
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