Washington DC(CNSNews.com) - A new bipartisan poll on the 2000 presidential race shows that Texas Governor George W Bush leads Vice-President Al Gore by six points. More importantly, Bush leads among women voters, one of the key voting blocs Gore must rely on if he is to win in November. Gore is, however, gaining ground with Hispanic voters.
The Voter.com/Battleground 2000 Poll was conducted by Democratic strategist Celinda Lake and Republican analyst Ed Goeas. 1,000 likely voters were surveyed between May 1st and 3rd. 48% said they would vote for Bush, 42% for Gore. Back in March, Bush led by only four points, just as both presidential candidates had effectively locked up their nominations.
"This poll shows continuing good news for Republicans, if only in the fact that George W Bush continues to maintain (and even increase) his marginal lead over Democratic candidate Al Gore," Goeas told CNSNews.com.
Lake told CNSNews.com that although Bush's six-point lead is larger than his four-point lead in March, it is "significantly lower" than the 16 point lead he had over Gore in January, and that the election is still almost six months away. "It's still remarkably early," said Lake.
Lake did admit there were some trouble spots for Gore in this latest Voter.com/Battleground 2000 Poll, which is widely respected as one of the most objective surveys because of its bipartisan nature.
"The gender gap is smaller than in March because Gore has lost support among key groups of women. Currently, men support Bush by a ten-point margin, while women support Bush by a narrow four-point margin." said Lake.
In 1992 and 1996, women voters were a major factor in President Clinton's and Vice-President Al Gore's election and re-election campaigns.
"Further, traditional Democratic constituencies are on the fence in the presidential race," said Lake, pointing out that union members now slightly favor Bush, and although Gore has made small inroads with Catholics, who traditionally vote Democratic, most of them are Hispanics, not white Catholics, who are leaning towards Bush.
The poll showed that Gore has made "dramatic improvement" among Hispanic voters, who now support him by a 12-point margin. In March, Hispanic voters supported Bush by five points, and in January, Bush led by nine points among likely Hispanic voters. Gore continues to garner heavy support among African-Americans, who favor him by 49 percentage points over Bush.
In the Midwest, which both Lake and Goeas said is a key battleground in the presidential race, Bush now leads Gore by five points as opposed to trailing him by four in March.
"The 2000 presidential race will be decided in the I-80 corridor," said Goeas referring to Interstate Highway 80 which starts in New Jersey and cuts across key industrial Midwestern states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
As the Presidency Goes, So Goes the House
The poll also analyzed elections in the House of Representatives where all 435 seats are up for grabs. Right now, the race for the House is a toss-up, said Lake and Goeas, with 41% of those polled saying they would vote for a Republican and 41% picking a Democrat. The deciding factor in which party ends up controlling the House of Representatives will be the presidential race, said Goeas.
"This finding further reinforces how even the playing field is for Republican and Democrat candidates this year," said Goeas. "Not only will it be a close election, but it remains likely that the presidential race will tip the ballot to who gets control of Congress."
Further complicating the picture, said Goeas, is the fact that the economy is booming and both the Democrats, who control the presidency, and the Republicans, who narrowly control the current Congress, are claiming credit.
"The question is 'Who's the incumbent,'" said Goeas. "Republicans don't like the fact that Clinton gets credit for it. Democrats don't like the fact that Republicans in Congress get credit for it."