WASHINGTON - George W. Bush leads Al Gore by 11 percentage points in two national polls of registered voters taken after the Republican National Convention, with that margin somewhat higher in a separate poll of likely voters.
A Newsweek poll released Saturday showed Republican Bush was ahead of Democrat Gore 49 percent to 38 percent while Green Party candidate Ralph Nader had 5 percent and Pat Buchanan, a Reform Party hopeful, had 1 percent. An NBC poll taken Thursday night also gave Bush an 11-point lead.
A Newsweek poll taken before the convention gave Bush a 7-point edge. A Voter.com-Battleground tracking poll of likely voters gave Bush an 8-point advantage at the start of the week that grew by 10 points during the convention. In the tracking poll, Bush led in every region of the country and among most demographic groups.
Overall, the convention gave 49 percent of those surveyed a more favorable opinion of the Republican Party while 22 percent said less favorable. Still, 41 percent said there was not enough discussion of what actual policies the GOP would pursue.
Gore will get a chance to shift the poll numbers in his favor over the next two weeks as he picks a running mate and then goes to Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention.
In the more important state-by-state battle, Bush is ahead in almost 20 states with two thirds of 270 electoral votes he needs for victory, while Gore leads in fewer than 10 with about a third of the votes he needs. The race is close or Bush has an edge in many competitive battleground states.
According to the Newsweek poll, Bush was seen by voters as better able than Gore on upholding moral values (53-30), reducing crime and violence (49-33), handling taxes (50-36), national defense (55 - 30), and foreign policy (48-37). Gore led on helping seniors pay for prescription drugs (45-40), and protecting gay rights (47-30). They were virtually tied on health care, abortion, jobs and the economy.
The Newsweek poll of 817 registered voters was conducted Thursday and Friday and has an error margin of 4 percentage points.