Gore Leads Bush in ABC/Washington Post Poll
(CNSNews.com) - Although the presidential election is still more than seven months away, pollsters are busy measuring the public's perception of an Al Gore-George W Bush matchup.
An ABC-TV/Washington Post survey of 1,218 randomly selected adults, conducted March 9-11, shows Vice President Al Gore leading Texas Gov. George W. Bush by a margin of 48 to 45 percent. Given the three-point margin of error, the race is currently a statistical dead heat.
The survey marks the first time Gore has led Bush in the ABC-Post surveys. As recently as five months ago, Bush had a 16-point lead in the two-man race.
The survey shows Gore leading Bush in seven of 12 "who do you trust" categories, including gun control and Social Security. Gore also has moved ahead of Bush in voter's perception of personal qualities and is tied with Bush on questions of tax policy. As recently as October, voters gave the tax issue to Bush buy a 19-point margin.
Asked who would do a better job handling foreign affairs, more voters named Gore, reversing his 17-point deficit in that category recorded in October.
Asked which of the two candidates has a better understanding of their problems, 55 percent of those polled picked Gore, with 47 percent giving the nod to Bush.
Bush may be suffering the effects of a grueling primary season, in which he faced a stiff challenge from Arizona Sen. John McCain. McCain left the race last Thursday, after loosing several major Super Tuesday states to Bush, including California, New York and Ohio.
Sixty one percent of those surveyed said they would have more interest in Bush if he selected McCain as his running mate.
Asked which man has the intelligence and maturity to be president, voters were evenly split. Both men polled nearly 75 percent on the intelligence question. On maturity, Bush polled 70 percent, while Gore polled 75 percent.
Bush seems to be taking a hit among Independents and Republican moderates. In October, the Texan was supported by 56 percent of Independent voters, 52 percent of moderates and 26 percent of Democrats.
Today his Independent support has shrunk by 16 points, while his support from moderates has dropped 14 points.