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

Poll: GOP divided over Buchanan's departure

By Keating Holland/CNN

October 25, 1999
Web posted at: 5:47 p.m. EDT (2147 GMT)

WASHINGTON -- Pat Buchanan is not popular among Republicans nationwide, but GOP voters are closely divided over his decision to bolt from the party to the Reform Party in hopes of winning its nomination, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll

What effect will Buchanan's decision to seek the Reform Party nomination have on the presidential election? Two-thirds of all Americans say that they would definitely not vote for Buchanan if he is on the Reform Party ticket next November. A quarter say they would consider voting for him, but only 4 percent are firmly committed to Buchanan right now.

That could make the difference if the Republican and Democratic candidates are in a close race next November -- and the race between the party front-runners, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, is tightening somewhat.

Bush's margin over Gore drops from a 52 percent to 43 percent margin without Buchanan to a statistically insignificant 48 percent to 42 percent margin with Buchanan on the ballot. Buchanan's withdrawal from the GOP field has little effect on Bush's chances of winning the nomination.

Buchanan was the favorite of only 4 percent of Republicans contacted this past weekend. With him in the race, Bush was leading by 66 percent to 11 percent for his next challenger, Arizona Sen. John McCain. Without Buchanan, Bush wins 68 percent and McCain stays steady at 11 percent.

What are Buchanan's chances of winning the Reform Party nomination? Most Americans -- and most people who say they are supporters of the Reform Party -- say they would rather see Buchanan win the nomination than Donald Trump, millionaire New York real estate developer who is considering a bid for the Reform Party nomination.

Even Democrats say they would rather see Buchanan win the Reform Party nomination than Trump. Previous polls have shown that only a handful of Americans think Trump is a serious candidate, and 79 percent say they would definitely not vote for Trump if he were on the ballot in November.

The poll was conducted via interviews with 1,005 adult Americans conducted October 21-24, 1999. The sampling error is noted after each question.

Next, we'd like to get your opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of this person or if you have never heard of him or her. How about Pat Buchanan?

 All AmericansRepublicans
Favorable27%37%
Unfavorable5144
Sampling error: +/-3 percentage points

As you may know, Pat Buchanan is considering leaving the Republican Party and running for the presidential nomination of the Reform Party. If you had to choose, would you want Pat Buchanan to: 1. Stay in the Republican party or 2. To leave the Republican Party?

 Republicans
Stay in GOP38%
Leave the GOP41
Sampling error: +/-5 percentage points (Asked only of 403 Republican respondents)

In general, how likely are you to vote for Pat Buchanan if he leaves the Republican Party and runs as the Reform Party's presidential candidate next November? Do you think you would definitely vote for Buchanan if he were the Reform Party candidate, would you consider voting for him or would you definitely not vote for that candidate?

Definitely vote for him4%
Consider voting for him26
Definitely not vote for him65
Sampling error: +/-3 percentage points (Asked only of Reform Party voters)

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: Al Gore, the Democrat, or George W. Bush, the Republican?

Bush52%
Gore43
Sampling error: +/-3 percentage points

Now suppose that the year 2000 presidential election were being held today, and it included Al Gore as the Democratic candidate, George W. Bush as the Republican candidate, and political commentator Patrick Buchanan as the Reform Party candidate. Would you vote for: 1. Al Gore, the Democrat; 2. George W. Bush, the Republican; 3. Patrick Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate?

Bush48%
Gore42
Buchanan5
Sampling error: +/-3 percentage points

If Pat Buchanan decides to leave the Republican Party and runs for president as the Reform Party candidate, do you think his candidacy would help, hurt or have no effect on the Republican Party's chances of winning the 2000 election for president?

 Republicans
Will help GOP12%
Will hurt GOP37
No effect46
Sampling error: +/-5 percentage points

Next, I'm going to read you 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: Family Research Council chairman Gary Bauer; political commentator Patrick Buchanan; Texas Gov. George W. Bush; businessman Steve Forbes; Arizona Sen. John McCain; Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch; political commentator Alan Keyes?

Bush66%
McCain11
Forbes7
Buchanan4
Hatch3
Keyes1
Bauer1
Sampling error: +/-5 percentage points (Asked of Republicans only)

If Pat Buchanan were not running for the Republican nomination, which one of the remaining Republican candidates would you be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for president?

Bush68%
McCain11
Forbes8
Hatch3
Keyes2
Bauer1
Sampling error: +/-5 percentage points (Asked of Republicans only)

In terms of the Reform Party ticket for president, which of the following two possible candidates would you prefer to see win the Reform Party nomination for president: 1. Pat Buchanan; or 2. Donald Trump?

 All AmericansReform Party supporters
Buchanan48%57%
Trump2932
Sampling error: +/-7 percentage points

 All AmericansDemocrats
Buchanan48%42%
Trump2933
Sampling error: +/-5 percentage points

In general, how likely are you to vote for Donald Trump if he runs as the Reform Party's presidential candidate next November? Do you think you would definitely vote for Buchanan if he were the Reform Party candidate, would you consider voting for him or would you definitely not vote for that candidate?

Definitely vote for him2%
Consider voting for him15
Definitely not vote for him79
Sampling error: +/-3 percentage points (Asked only of Reform Party voters)

ELECTION 2000

Buchanan, Trump could battle for Reform nomination (10-25-99)

Buchanan announces switch to Reform Party (10-25-99)

Study: Reporting on female candidates more personality-driven (10-25-99)

Mayor warming up to minimum-wage increase (10-25-99)

Buchanan cites reasons for seeking Reform Party nomination (10-25-99)

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Monday, October 25, 1999

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