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

Poll: Bush bandwagon getting crowded

By Keating Holland/CNN

June 28, 1999
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT)

WASHINGTON (June 28) -- Republicans are getting on the George W. Bush presidential bandwagon with nearly six in 10 Republicans now supporting Bush as the GOP presidential nominee in 2000, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Bush has gained 13 points since early June, mostly at the expense of Elizabeth Dole, whose support among Republicans nationwide has dropped from 24 percent in May to 14 percent three weeks ago and just 8 percent on Monday.

Dole, who had been the only other GOP candidate besides Bush in double digits, is now in a four-way tie with Steve Forbes, Dan Quayle and John McCain for second place. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the latest entrant in the GOP field, wins support from 2 percent of all Republicans.

How do rank-and-file Republicans feel about Bush's frontrunner status? Sixty-one percent say that it would be better for the party if a clear frontrunner emerged while only 36 percent say that it would be better for the party to have a number of strong candidates competing for the nomination over the next year.

The survey of 1,016 adult Americans was conducted June 25-27 and the margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points, unless otherwise noted.

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 Republicans nomination? Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, Family Research Council Chairman Gary Bauer, political commentator Pat Buchanan, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, former Red Cross director Elizabeth Dole, businessman Steve Forbes, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, Ohio congressman John Kasich, Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Vice President Dan Quayle, New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith.

Bush59%
Dole8
Forbes6
Quayle6
McCain5
Kasich3
Buchanan3
Alexander2
Bauer2
Hatch2
Smith1
Asked of Republicans only with a sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

Comparison of Bush versus Dole in the choice for 2000.

 BushDole
Now59%8%
June 4-54614
April 30-May 24224
Asked of Republicans only with a sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

In terms of selecting the Republican nominee for president in the year 2000, which do you think would be better for the Republican Party: For there to be a number of strong candidates competing for the nomination over the next year or for one strong candidate, such as George W. Bush, to emerge early on as the clear front runner for the nomination?

Clear frontrunner61%
Several strong candidates36
Asked of Republicans only with a sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

Gore is Democratic favorite

The Democratic Party also has an even stronger favorite in the new poll, but rank-and-file Democrats aren't as enthusiastic as Republicans about him. Two-thirds of all Democrats nationwide favor Al Gore for the party's nomination in 2000 while just a quarter would prefer Bill Bradley.

Those numbers have remained unchanged since Gore officially announced his candidacy. But half of all Democrats say it would be better for their party if there were several strong candidates competing for the nomination.

Forty-six percent say it is better for the party if one strong candidate like Gore emerges as the clear frontrunner. That may indicate Democrats' concern about Gore, particularly since he is still losing to Bush by a 56 percent to 41 percent margin. Gore's favorable rating, at 56 percent, shows that most Americans like him -- but at 69 percent, Bush's favorable rating is significantly better than Gore's.

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? Former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, Vice President Al Gore.

Gore64%
Bradley28*
Asked of Democrats only with a sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

In terms of selecting the Democratic nominee for president in the year 2000, which do you think would be better for the Democratic Party: For there to be a number of strong candidates competing for the nomination over the next year or for one strong candidate, such as Al Gore, to emerge early on as the clear front runner for the nomination?

Several strong candidates50%
Clear frontrunner46
Asked of Democrats only with a sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

Next, suppose the year 2000 presidential election were being held today. 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?

Bush56%
Gore41

I'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 this person or if you have never heard of him or hear. How about Al Gore? how about George W. Bush?

 BushDole
Favorable69%56%
Unfavorable1639
Unsure155

Congressional Democrats get better marks than GOP counterparts

Congressional Democrats have a slightly higher approval rating than congressional Republicans do, but that may not translate into a Democratic advantage at the ballot box.

The public is evenly split -- 41 percent to 41 percent -- over whether the country would be better off if the Republicans or the Democrats controlled Congress. Overall, 46 percent of all Americans approve of the way the Democrats are handling their job while 46 percent disapprove.

Only 40 percent approve of how the Republicans in Congress are handling their job -- indicating that the public is not overwhelmed by either party.

Democrats had hoped that the recent House votes on gun control legislation would boost their chances of regaining control of the House in 2000. But although stricter laws on the sale of firearms are popular, the public is closely split, 44 percent to 41 percent, over which party reflects their views of gun control, and only 15 percent say that they would only vote for a candidate who shares their views on the issue.

None of these measures show any movement in the wake of the rejection by the House of Representatives of gun control legislation.

Do you think the country would be better off if the Republicans controlled Congress, or if the Democrats controlled Congress?

Republicans41%
Democrats41

Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress and the Democrats in Congress are handling their jobs?

 ApproveDisapprove
Democrats in Congress46%46%
Republicans in Congress4053

In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict or kept as they are now?

More strict62%
Kept the same31
Less strict6

 NowMay
More strict62%65%
Kept the same3128*
Less strict65

Which party do you think can do a better job of reflecting your views about gun control -- the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?

Democratic party44%
Republican party41

 NowMay
Democratic party44%42%
Republican party4139

Mixed feelings about Hillary Clinton and the Senate

Most Americans say they would not vote for Hillary Clinton if they lived in New York state, although 69 percent say she is qualified to be a U.S. senator. Forty-five percent say they would vote for her if they lived in New York. Fifty-six percent of all Americans have a favorableview of the first lady, down nine points from early March.

As you may know, there has been some discussion of Hillary Rodham Clinton possibly running for the Senate in New York next year. EVen though you may not live in New York state, I'd like you opinion. Suppose you lived in New York state, would you vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton for senator or not?

Yes45%
No52

Regardless of whether you would vote for her or not, do you think Hillary Rodham Clinton is qualified to be a U.S. senator, or don't you think so?

Yes69%
No29

I'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 this person or if you have never heard of him or hear. How about Hillary Rodham Clinton?

 NowMarch
Favorable56%65%
Unfavorable4231

Most Americans trust Bill Clinton more than the Republicans in Congress when it comes to handling Social Security and Medicare. About one in five call for a complete overhaul of both systems while another four in ten say that both systems need major changes.

Who do you have more confidence in when it comes to handling the following issues -- President Clinton or the Republicans in Congress?

 MedicareSocial Security
Clinton55%50%
GOP3842

Which of the following statements best represents how you feel about Social Security?

Complete overhaul21%
Major changes37
Minor changes28%
No change13

Which of the following statements best represents how you feel about Medicare?

Complete overhaul16%
Major changes41
Minor changes31%
No change10

CAMPAIGN 2000

New Hampshire sets February 1 primary date (9-28-99)

Arizona governor endorses Bush over McCain (9-28-99)

Bradley unveils $65 billion plan for universal health care (9-28-99)

Gore receives endorsements of Shaquille O'Neal and Bill Cosby (9-28-99)

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