Texas Gov. George W. Bush appears to be picking up momentum across the country in the race for president, but he does not seem to be gaining support in states where he needs it, a new daily tracking poll shows.
Nationally, Mr. Bush is polling at 46 per cent, compared to 41 per cent for Vice President Gore.
However, a 10-state tracking poll, commissioned by The Blade, MSNBC, and Reuters news service, shows Mr. Bush could win the popular vote Tuesday but lose the race for the White House to Mr. Gore, who, the poll indicates, appears to have an edge in states with a majority of electoral college votes.
The poll, conducted Sunday, Monday, and yesterday by Zogby International of Utica, N.Y., carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 per cent. It includes 10 states considered important in the presidential race totaling 186 electoral votes. Of the other 40 states and the District of Columbia, Mr. Bush has been leading in states worth 211 electoral votes, while Mr. Gore has led in states worth 141.
It takes 270 electoral college votes to elect a president.
Based on the latest poll results, Mr. Gore would win with 284 electoral votes, compared to 254 for Mr. Bush, assuming Mr. Gore picks up Washington's 11 electoral votes. Mr. Bush appeared to gain there yesterday, with both candidates garnering 45 per cent of the vote. Even if Mr. Gore were to lose Washington, he would still win the presidency by a margin of 273 electoral votes to 265 for Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush's apparent improvement in Washington occurred as he campaigned in the state.
John Zogby, president of the polling firm, maintained an air of caution in making a prediction based on the results of the poll because several states - Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee, and Washington - are so close.
Other states, including Ohio and Illinois, are still within the margin of error, but indications in the poll data show Mr. Bush has an increasingly strong hold on Ohio, while Mr. Gore seems to have a solid grasp on Illinois.
Mr. Gore maintains leads outside the margin of error in Wisconsin, Florida, and New York, the poll shows.
Mr. Zogby said there is room for movement in the last week before the election. “We can have two more reincarnations here, where they can go down and then back up.”
Nationally, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader wins 5 per cent support, while Pat Buchanan of the Reform Party and Harry Browne of the Libertarian Party each win 1 per cent. Seven per cent are yet undecided. Mr. Nader, who lashed out at Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush during campaign stops in the Detroit area yesterday, appears to be a factor in three states: Michigan, Missouri, and Washington.
Mr. Nader, a consumer activist with deep roots of support on the nation's college campuses, said he would never step back from the race for president to make it easier for Mr. Gore, with whom he shares some political views, to be elected. Saying he was running a race based on idealism that would appeal to younger voters, and calling Mr. Gore a “corrupt” politician, he said he doesn't care who wins the White House this fall as long as he can continue to build a long-term political organization.
Mr. Gore has been urging idealistic voters on the campaign trail that a ballot cast for Mr. Nader is practically a vote for Mr. Bush.
Mr. Gore has 46 per cent support in Pennsylvania, compared to 42 per cent support for Mr. Bush. Mr. Nader wins 5 per cent support in the state.
Mr. Gore has shown surprising strength in Florida, which has gone for Democrats in the last two elections but held hope for Republicans this year.
Mr. Gore campaigns there today. He has raised questions about the viability of Mr. Bush's Social Security reform plan at every stop on the campaign trail, and respondents in the Miami area, heavily populated with senior citizens, may have developed doubts about the Bush plan. Mr. Gore leads there, 60 per cent to 35 per cent.
Should President Clinton take too high a profile on the campaign trail this week when he stumps for Mr. Gore and other Democrats, he endangers Mr. Gore's support in that category of voter, the pollster said.
In Ohio, Mr. Bush has maintained strength among independents, where he is favored by 45 per cent, compared to 32 per cent for Mr. Gore. Mr. Nader wins 11 per cent of the independent vote in Ohio, the poll shows.
In Michigan, Mr. Gore made up some ground among independent voters, the survey shows. He has made up ground with those who have minor children, a category in which Mr. Gore has suffered over the last year as parents with children reacted to the Clinton sex scandal, Mr. Zogby said.
Aside from the close presidential race in Michigan, “the story there now is Debbie Stabenow with a four-point lead” over Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham, Mr. Zogby said.
He said it is notable that Mr. Abraham has “awfully meager” favorability ratings in the polls, and added that, even when he held leads in the race in recent weeks, he never won support from 50 per cent of respondents.
In Ohio, Republican Sen. Mike DeWine maintains a wide lead, as does Sen. Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania.
Tomorrow, the tracking poll will include results from Monday, Tuesday, and today.