Bush Takes Lead in Poll Conducted by Mason Students

Posted: November 7, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Gabrielle DeFord

George Bush could win the 2000 presidential election, according to the results of a nationwide telephone survey conducted by George Mason students. Approximately 200 students participated, making more than 10,700 calls and interviewing 1,048 likely voters.

“Our results are as accurate as the major polls,” says analyst A. Richard Bolstein, chair of the Applied and Engineering Statistics Department. “I think Gore is in trouble.”

Results indicate 46 percent of likely voters in the continental United States will vote for George Bush, 40 percent for Al Gore, 4 percent for Ralph Nader, and 2 percent for other candidates (including Pat Buchanan). Eight percent are undecided. However, Gore could still come from behind, since almost twice as many of the undecided voters are leaning toward him as toward Bush.

If they vote accordingly, Gore’s share of the vote would rise to 45 percent and Bush’s to 49 percent. Since the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, this means Bush’s victory is far from assured. The students found that Gore also may benefit from Nader’s would-be voters, since only 36 percent of those who say they will vote for Nader say they feel very strongly about their choices. In comparison, 68 percent of Bush voters and 60 percent of Gore voters feel very strongly about their choices.

The students discovered that Bush has a wide lead among white males, Asian Americans, voters between 18 and 24 years of age, and voters 65 and older. Gore is the overwhelming choice of black and Hispanic Americans. Among females and voters between 25 and 44 years of age, the race is deadlocked. Among those who report “much interest in the election,” Bush has a wide lead of 51 percent to 38 percent over Gore. Among those who report “some or no interest,” Gore has a marginal lead of 42 percent to Bush’s 39 percent.

“We had a higher than average response rate, equivalent to or better than many of the major polling firms,” says Greg Guagnano, Sociology and Anthropology. Guagnano directed the survey while Bolstein created the sampling design and performed the analysis of responses. The data is available on the Internet for analysis.

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