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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Bush, Gore early front-runners for 2000

But the vice president's support has flagged in a new poll

By Keating Holland/CNN

WASHINGTON (October 27) -- Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush are the front-runners for their parties' presidential nominations in the year 2000, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. But while Bush's stock appears to be rising, Gore's has fallen since May.

Five months ago, Gore won support from a majority of Democrats nationwide; today his support is 10 points lower and two potential challengers, former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, have doubled their share of support in that time.

Also in this poll:

Nonetheless, Gore still commands more than twice as much support as any other Democrat. On the Republican side, Bush wins the votes of twice as many Republicans as the runner-up, Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole.

Only former vice-president Dan Quayle cracks double digits among the remaining Republicans tested. With Dole out of the running, Bush's share of the vote increases to 46 percent.

How would Gore and Bush do in a hypothetical match-up? If the election were held today, Bush would score 18 points higher in a head-to-head race, 57-39 percent. That's a significant gain from last May, when Bush held only a four-point margin over Gore.

In asking people about the 2000 race, the CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll surveyors referred to Bush as "Texas governor" and "son of former president George Bush" to make sure that people were not confusing him with his father. The results are reported based on all people who participated in the survey because it is impossible to tell who are "likely voters" in an election that is more than two years away.

The results are based on interviews with 1,013 adult Americans, including 499 Democrats and 423 Republicans, conducted October 23-25. The margin of sampling error ranges from +/- 3 percentage points for the entire group to +/- 5 percentage points for smaller subsamples.

Here are the questions and the results:

If Vice President Al Gore were the Democratic Party's candidate and Texas Gov. George W. Bush -- the son of former president George Bush -- were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for?

Choice for President In 2000

Now May
George W. Bush
Al Gore

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

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?

Democrats' choice for President in 2000

Al Gore 41%
Bill Bradley 15%
Dick Gephardt 14%
Jesse Jackson 11%
Bob Kerrey 4%
John Kerry 4%
Paul Wellstone 1%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Democrats' choice for President in 2000

Now May
Al Gore
Bill Bradley
Dick Gephardt
Jesse Jackson

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

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?

Republicans' choice for President in 2000

George W. Bush 39%
Elizabeth Dole 17%
Dan Quayle 12%
Steve Forbes 7%
Lamar Alexander 4%
John Ashcroft 4%
Newt Gingrich 4%
John Kasich 4%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

Republicans' Choice in 2000 if Elizabeth Dole does not run

George W. Bush 46%
Dan Quayle 14%
Steve Forbes 9%
Newt Gingrich 6%
Lamar Alexander 5%
John Kasich 5%
John Ashcroft 4%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

A poor opinion of lawmakers' ethical standards

Most Americans will vote for someone next week whose honesty and ethical standards they do not hold in very high regard. Only 17 percent of people surveyed say that members of Congress have ethical standards which are high or very high. Only 19 percent say the same about senators, and state and local officeholders are in the same ballpark.

That puts elected officials in the same league as stockbrokers (19 percent), real estate agents (16 percent), and TV reporters (21 percent). That is better than the bottom rung occupied by car salesmen (5 percent), advertising practitioners (10 percent) and insurance salesmen (11 percent), but far worse than druggists, the clergy, doctors or policemen.

Does one party have a moral advantage over the other? Not really. Only 19 percent say that Republican officeholders have ethical standards which are high or very high; only 17 percent say the same about Democratic officeholders. (By the way, only 26 percent of the public thinks that public opinion pollsters have high or very high ethical standards.)

Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields -- very high, high, average, low or very low?

Honesty and ethical standards are very high or high

Druggists 64%
Clergy 59%
Doctors 57%
College teachers 53%
Policemen 49%

Local officeholders 21%
Senators 19%
Congressmen 17%
State officeholders 17%

Business executives 21%
TV reporters 21%
Stockbrokers 19%
Congressmen 17%
Lawyers 14%

Insurance salesmen 11%
Advertisers 10%
Car salesmen 5%

Republican officeholders 19%
Democratic officeholders 17%

Sampling error: +/-3% pts


Tuesday, October 27, 1998

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