Gore's   Labor   Day   Lead

In a new Newsweek poll, the vice president is 10 points ahead of Bush.

NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE

September 1 — Just before the Labor Day kick-off of the fall presidential campaign, Al Gore has surged to his largest lead yet—ten points—over Texas governor George W. Bush.

IN A NEW NEWSWEEK POLL, conducted Aug. 30 and 31, Gore leads Bush 49 percent to 39 percent in a four-way race. Ralph Nader of the Green Party draws three percent and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, one percent. In a two-way race, Gore leads Bush by 12 points, 53 to 41 percent.

Heading into the critical fall campaign, the results indicate continued momentum for Gore, who has seen a twenty point swing since early August, when he trailed Bush by ten points prior to the Democratic National Convention.

The latest poll also indicates that Gore has closed ground with Bush on several important fronts. Last week's Newsweek poll found that Bush had reestablished a 48 -to 40-percent edge among male voters. This week, Gore has closed that gap, moving into a statistical tie among men (44 percent for Gore, 43 percent for Bush) while holding on to his strong lead (54 to 34 percent) among women.

More than six in ten voters (62 percent) now say that Gore has strong leadership qualities, roughly equal to the 65 percent who say the same about Bush.

The vice president and Democratic nominee has also moved ahead in polling on character questions. More than six in ten voters (62 percent) now say that Gore has strong leadership qualities, roughly equal to the 65 percent who say the same about Bush. Those numbers represent a slight gain for Gore over last week's results, when 58 percent of voters said they viewed the vice president as a strong leader.

The Democrat has also drawn ahead in voters' perceptions of morality. Gore leads by a margin of 44 to 37 on "upholding moral values," reversing Bush's 43 to 38 percent advantage from last week. Gore even appears to have edged ahead of Bush on the question of likability. Nearly three-fourths of voters, 72 percent, say Gore is personally likable, up from 69 percent last week and ahead of the 66 percent who say the same of Bush.

Poll results on the issues continue to favor Gore as well. More than half of voters, a full 55 percent, say Gore shares their views on major issues, compared to 42 percent who say the same about Bush.

On the economy, 50 percent of those questioned say Gore would do a better job, compared with 35 percent for Bush.

Gore leads 44 to 39 on the topic of taxes.

And 53 percent say Gore would better handle Social Security, up from 48 percent last week. About one-third of respondents, 34 percent, favored Bush on the topic of Social Security.

Voters still give the edge to Bush (46 to 49) when it comes to national defense, a key issue for the GOP nominee and his running mate, Dick Cheney, this week. Still, Gore managed to make inroads even on this issue in the new Newsweek poll, reducing Bush's lead of 53 percent to 32 percent in the previous week.


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