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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Poll shows Bush-Gore in dead heat

A statewide poll of prospective voters shows Al Gore and George Bush virtually tied in New Mexico with just five weeks to go in the presidential campaign, a New Mexico State University government class said Tuesday.

The poll of 600 state residents who said they are likely to vote in November found 42.3 percent of the respondents favored Gore, while 42.2 percent favored Bush, said members of Jose Garcia's New Mexico government and politics class, who conducted the poll Sept. 26-28.

Green Party candidate Ralph Nader was favored by 4.7 percent of the poll's respondents. Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan was favored by .3 percent, while 9.5 percent said they are undecided.

Garcia said voters from every county in the state were telephoned during the poll. The polling list was constructed so that it gave a proportionate demographic profile of the state, he said.

A similar poll conducted two years ago by another of Garcia's government classes predicted the outcome of the Martin Chavez-Gary Johnson gubernatorial race within 1 percent of the actual vote, Garcia said.

With a sample of 600 New Mexico voters, the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, he added.

The survey results were also broken down according to party, gender, ethnicity and age, although Garcia noted that because of smaller numbers the subgroups' margin of error increases proportionately.

"For example, if you only have 200 voters the margin of error increases to plus or minus 12 percent," he said.

Among those men and women who said they have already made a decision, the poll showed the vote is equally split. Both sexes are divided 50 percent to 50 percent between Gore and Bush. However, women voters were more likely than men to say they are undecided and more undecided women said they lean toward Gore than toward Bush.

Hispanic voters surveyed favored Gore 70.4 percent to 29.6 percent. Non-Hispanic voters favored Bush 58.6 percent to 41.4 percent.

Voters aged 18 to 29 favored Gore by a 2-to-1 margin, at 66 percent to 33 percent. But Garcia said the number of 18- to 29- year-old voters who responded to the survey was too small to represent an accurate prediction.

Voters aged 30 to 64 favored Bush, at 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent. Voters aged 65 and above favored Gore, at 51.7 percent to 38.5 percent, according to the poll results.

The poll respondents were also asked which issue they are most concerned about in this election and which of the two major political parties they think is likely to do the better job of leading New Mexico in the next two years.

The issue given top place by the most respondents was health care, with 30 percent saying they are concerned about such issues as prescription drugs, health insurance and HMOs. The second highest number chose education, with 24.4 percent saying it was their greatest concern. Integrity of public officials was third, chosen by 7.3 percent.

Slightly more of the respondents said Democrats would do a better job of leading the state, at 47.5 percent compared with 41.3 percent who favored Republicans.

In New Mexico's three congressional districts, Bush appeared to be ahead slightly in Districts 1 and 2, while Gore appeared to be ahead in District 3, although in all three cases the results were within the margin of error, Garcia said.

In District 1, the district of Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson, the poll showed Bush with 42 percent, Gore 40 percent. In District 2, the district of Republican Congressman Joe Skeen, the poll showed Bush with 46 percent, Gore 43 percent. In District 3, the district of Democratic Congressman Tom Udall, the poll showed Bush with 39 percent, Gore 44 percent.

Jack King
Oct. 3, 2000