Presidential Debate Clouds Voters’ Choice

Al Gore’s personality may be costing him votes. Although a plurality of voters believe he won the first presidential debate, he has lost his small September lead over George W. Bush. As the race has narrowed, an increasing number of voters who oppose the vice president say they dislike his personality. On the other hand, Bush has a slight edge over Gore on likabilty and honesty, but a larger percentage now think he is less qualified for the presidency than his rival.

Little wonder that voting intentions are more closely divided than they were in early September, when Al Gore led in a Pew Research Center survey and most other large national polls. Registered voters favor Gore 44%-43% in the current poll, which was conducted Oct. 4-8 among 1,009 respondents. When Pew’s sample is narrowed to those most likely to vote, Bush holds a 45%-44% edge. Neither lead is statistically significant.

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United States
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Presidential / prime minister