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CAMPAIGN 2000

Gore Ahead in 3 Key States, Tied in Ohio, Polls Say

September 17, 2000|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Democratic candidate Al Gore has opened leads in three of the big industrial states in America's heartland and erased Republican rival George W. Bush's advantage in a fourth, according to new polls offering fresh evidence of the Democrat's surge in states central to the presidential race.

In the surveys released Saturday by a Michigan pollster, the vice president had an edge in Michigan, a state that has been a dead heat for weeks; had wide leads in Pennsylvania and Illinois, supporting earlier polls; and had pulled into a tie in Ohio, the Midwestern state that most favors GOP presidential candidates.

Gore was up by 8 percentage points in Michigan, 45% to 37%; ahead by 15 points in Illinois, 48% to 33%; and had an 18-point bulge in Pennsylvania, 51% to 33%, according to the polls by EPIC/MRA of Lansing, Mich. The candidates were virtually even in Ohio.

The four state polls were taken Sept. 6-13. In Michigan's poll of 600 likely voters, there was an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The polls in Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania each covered 400 likely voters and had error margins of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

"Since the conventions, we've seen a shift, and right now there's a lack of confidence in George W. Bush," said pollster Ed Sarpolus of EPIC/MRA, who conducted the surveys. He said if Republicans' faith in Bush remains shaky come election day, "they're not going to vote for Al Gore so they probably won't vote."

It is difficult for a Republican to reach 270 electoral votes needed for election without Ohio, and it is nearly impossible for any candidate to win without a strong showing in the Midwest, where analysts believe the race will be determined.

Democratic internal surveys reflect the same general picture in those states, except they are not quite as far ahead in Pennsylvania. Republican internal polling suggests that Bush is in better shape--ahead in Ohio, close or slightly ahead in Michigan and trailing slightly in Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Gore's recent rise in state and national polls was not particularly worrisome to GOP Gov. John Engler of Michigan, an advisor to Bush's campaign.

Bush's plan to refocus on his message of improving education and cutting taxes could help the Texas governor regain some of the momentum he has lost in recent weeks, Engler said.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

POLL WATCH

The pace of the polling on the 2000 presidential race has picked up dramatically. Several polls are released each day, and most are showing a very tight race between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. Gore holds a slight edge in most surveys. Below is a sampling of polls released last week, plus several from the week before. Percentages may not equal 100 because of rounding.

Sept. 16

Newsweek

Bush 38%

Gore 50%

Don't know/other 12%

Sept. 14

' CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP

Bush 42%

Gore 49%

Don't know/other 10%

Sept. 14

' Voter.com

Bush 50%

Gore 44%

Don't know/other 6%

Sept. 8

Newsweek Bush 41%

Gore 49%

Don't know/other 10%

Sept 8

CNN/USA Today

Bush 46%

Gore 45%

Don't know/other 9%

Sept 7

ABC/Washington Post

Bush 47%

Gore 44%

Don't know/other 6%

*

Note: All polls surveyed likely voters. Margins of error range from +/-3 percentage points to +/-5 percentage points. Compiled by MASSIE RITSCH / Times researcher.

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