Gore holds slight edge in state


Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Democrat Al Gore continues to enjoy a slight, but not insurmountable, edge in this independent-minded, ticket-splitting battleground state, but in the words of one pollster, hasn’t "closed the sale."

Democrats acknowledge the recent volatility of the race nationally, but they are mildly confident that the incumbent vice president will carry the state’s electoral votes in an election now little more than five weeks off. But Republicans insist that Gov. George W. Bush is in the thick of it and will not withdraw from the state in October, as they once feared.

Republican strategist Dave Mortenson says it’s good news for the GOP and its downballot candidates that Bush is still in the hunt in a state that hasn’t voted Republican since 1984. Washington is a Democratic-leaning state, with only one statewide GOP elected official.

"It really is nip-and-tuck, too close to call — and that encourages me," Mortenson says. "It really is mirroring the national polls. I see Washington being a battleground state to the very end.

"There seem to be no real issues per se. It’s almost like whoever does better on Oprah or has a better Top 10 list on Letterman will be our next president. Very strange."

Democratic consultant Cathy Allen of Seattle says Gore will hang onto his skinny poll margins in Washington — currently between 4 and 7 percent — and even expand on it as Nader voters come "home" to the Democratic Party because the race is close.

Allen, who advises women candidates, said women will put Gore over the top in Washington. "Al will have a double-digit advantage with women — and there’s your winning edge right there," she says.

Between 4 and 6 percent more women than men will vote here in November, her research shows.

Carolyn Long, political scientist at Washington State University at Vancouver, says a female Democrat’s bid to oust Sen. Slade Gorton, dotcom millionaire Maria Cantwell, will help bring out women and Democrats, helping Gore.

"I don’t see (Green Party nominee Ralph) Nader’s numbers increasing that much. I think Gore will win by 4 or 5 points."

Independent Seattle pollster Stuart Elway calls the race fluid. His latest numbers show a 44-37 Gore advantage, with Nader at 4 percent and the rest undecided.

His statewide poll of 400 voters was conducted last weekend and carries a margin of error of 5 percentage points. Elway said his read is that Gore probably has a small lead. But he said one-third of Gore’s numbers are only leaning his way. One-fourth of Bush’s people are leaners.

"Gore hasn’t locked it up yet. Both of them still need to close the sale," Elway says. "There is still a lot of time for the numbers to change."

Republican strategist Todd Myers, who terms the race too close to call in Washington, says he’s watching "squishiness of Gore’s support that may go in two directions — to Bush and to Nader." The administration’s decision to tap the strategic petroleum reserves may be seen by some environmentalists as encouraging fossil fuel use — and drive more Gore voters to Nader, he surmises.

Myers said he’s "100 percent sure" that Bush will keep his Washington state campaign up and running until Election Day. That’s a good chess move, not only because Bush may carry the state, but also because it forces Gore to spend time and money on a state the Democrats carried the last three elections, he says.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

Most Read