Gore, Bush tied in new poll

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The Independent US

Al Gore and George W. Bush campaigned in the battleground states of the American Midwest while a new poll of likely voters suggested the U.S. presidential race is very close.

Al Gore and George W. Bush campaigned in the battleground states of the American Midwest while a new poll of likely voters suggested the U.S. presidential race is very close.

"We said all along that itÿs going to be a close election," Bush communications director Karen Hughes said on the CNN television network. "We expect it to be a close, hard-fought election all the way to November."

The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll had Gore of the Democratic Party at 47 percent, Bush of the Republican Party at 46 percent, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader at 3 percent and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan at 2 percent.

Hughes reiterated the Bush campaignÿs plans for debates, and Goreÿs campaign manager immediately tried to up the ante.

"We are going to participate in a record number of five presidential and vice presidential debates," Hughes said on the television program "Fox News Sunday." She was referring to a recent campaign proposal that the presidential candidates debate three times and the vice presidential rivals debate twice.

"Weÿre game. Weÿll start this week. In fact, weÿll do five times five if theyÿll give us the opportunity," Donna Brazile, Goreÿs campaign manager, said on Fox. "Weÿll start negotiations tomorrow."

The Commission on Presidential Debates has proposed three debates between the presidential candidates in October. The commission plan is for one vice presidential debate that month. The commission proposals are always subject to negotiations by the candidates.

Bush aides cautioned the surge Gore has gotten in the polls after his partyÿs national convention last week could be short-lived.

The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll of 697 likely voters taken Friday and Saturday had an error margin of 4 percentage points. That same poll right before the convention showed Bush 16 points ahead of Gore, 55 percent to 39 percent.

Goreÿs campaign chairman, William Daley, said on NBC televisionÿs "Meet The Press: "We are encouraged that people obviously listened to the vice president (in his acceptance speech) on Thursday evening. ... There are issues that weÿve got to address, and he was specific about them. And I think thatÿs what people reacted to."

The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll is one of several that have indicated Gore made significant gains in public opinion after the convention. A Newsweek magazine poll released Saturday showed Gore ahead at 48 percent to 42 percent, but that measured all registered voters, which tends to give stronger results to the Democrats.

Gore, the current vice president, pulled even in the CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll by building about a 20-point lead among women, while Bush has about the same size lead among men.

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