By DAVID AMMONS
SEATTLE – Al Gore carried Washington state tonight, keeping alive a three-election winning streak for the Democrats by brushing off Ralph Nader’s challenge from his left and a determined push by Republican George W. Bush on his right.
With about 41 percent of the precincts reporting, Gore had 51 percent in a 10-party field. Bush had 44 percent and Nader’s 4 percent.
Exit polling showed that Gore won the battle for independent and moderate voters. About 48 percent of the respondents called themselves moderates and split their vote 53 percent for Gore and 39 percent for Bush. Self-identified liberals voted for Gore and Nader and conservatives were heavily for Bush.
Gore also did well among minority voters. Bush led among white men, rural voters and those with some college but no degree.
The poll was conducted by Voter News Service, a partnership of The Associated Press and television networks.
Gore was a frequent visitor to the state he and Bill Clinton carried twice, but Bush, the Texas governor, committed to the state early and refused to write it off even when the polls chronically showed him trailing.
Gore’s situation was complicated by Nader’s Green Party strength among liberals, environmentalists and foes of unfettered trade. Nader drew some of his most enthusiastic crowds in Seattle, the site of street protests during the World Trade Organization meeting one year ago.
Other minor-party challengers were less of a factor in the race. Harry Browne, standard-bearer of a Libertarian Party that qualified candidates for all statewide and congressional races this year, had 1 percent of Washington’s presidential vote.
Pat Buchanan, the conservative commentator who ran under the Freedom Party banner in this state, was fifth, with less than 1 percent and the other tickets trailed farther back.
Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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