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Poll: Most say Gore will be on 2004 ballot

Al Gore remains a front-runner among Democrats, but his support among the general public appears to have declined, a new CNN/Time poll finds.
Al Gore remains a front-runner among Democrats, but his support among the general public appears to have declined, a new CNN/Time poll finds.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With the next presidential election two years away, undeclared candidate Al Gore is trailing in a new poll. Trailing or not, Gore's name likely will be on the ballot, most people think.

A CNN/Time poll conducted November 13-14 shows that two-thirds of the public thinks Gore will be the likely Democratic nominee in 2004, but half surveyed said the former vice president won't win the White House. Only 41 percent said they would vote for him if the election were held today.

The poll was conducted by interviewing 1,006 people, including 454 Democrats. It had a maximum error margin of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but lost to George W. Bush when the Republican challenger earned 537 more votes in Florida to tip the Electoral College in his favor. Gore has said he will make a decision this year whether to seek a rematch.

Most Democrats surveyed said they would like to see Gore run for president. Fewer respondents said it would benefit the party if he won the nomination.

Among Democrats, 61 percent said they would like to see Gore run again. A little more than half of those, 55 percent, said it would be good for the party for him to be on the ticket.

Gore appears to have become more popular with rank-and-file Democrats over the past nine months, according to the poll. In March, 56 percent gave Gore a favorable rating, compared with 71 percent now, the poll found.

But his popularity among the general public appears to be waning, according to the poll. A majority found Gore likable, compassionate and honest, but less than 40 percent saw him as a strong leader or think he would be good in an international crisis. During the 2000 election, a majority of Americans surveyed thought Gore was a strong leader who would be good in a crisis.

Gore remains a front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Up to half of all registered Democrats would support Gore if U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, wasn't running, the poll found. Thirty-four percent in the poll favored Gore, while 26 percent said they would support the former first lady.

Despite the numbers, Gore is not out for the count. Polls taken this far from an election aren't always a good indicator of what may happen in the future.

For example, in 1963, most Americans -- and most Republicans -- did not want to see Richard Nixon run for president again. At the time, Nixon was a former vice president who lost a tight election to John F. Kennedy in 1960. He went on to win the presidency in 1968 and was re-elected in 1972.

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