WASHINGTON - Democrat Al Gore has an edge over Republican George W. Bush in a Newsweek poll of likely voters released Saturday, while a tracking poll shows a very close race.
The race was tight in Illinois and New Hampshire, while Bush still has a big lead in Texas, according to several new state polls. The state-by-state battle for electoral votes is crucial because the winning candidate has to win enough states to collect 270 electoral votes.
Gore was up by 49 percent to 41 percent over Bush in the Newsweek poll of 595 likely voters was taken Thursday and Friday. That poll had an error margin of 5 percentage points.
A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll taken Wednesday through Friday showed Bush at 46 percent and Gore at 45 percent, about where the race has been for several days. The tracking poll of 675 likely voters has an error margin of 4 percentage points.
The Newsweek poll showed Gore was supported by 85 percent of Democrats and 18 percent of Republicans. Bush had the support of 75 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats. Bush had a 43-34 edge among independents.
Gore held the advantage on handling such key issues as health care, the economy, Social Security and education. Bush still has an edge on leadership qualities, though the two are essentially tied on honesty and ethics.
In state polls:
-In New Hampshire, Gore and Bush were deadlocked at 42 percent apiece in an WMUR-University of New Hampshire poll. The poll of 786 likely voters was taken Sept. 1-6 and has an error margin of 3.5 percentage points. Earlier polls were already showing the race close.
-In Illinois, Gore was at 44 percent and Bush at 40 percent in a Chicago Sun-Times-Fox News Chicago poll. The poll of 600 likely voters was taken Tuesday and Wednesday and has an error margin of 4 percentage points, making the race statistically tied.
-In Texas, Bush led 53 percent to 30 percent in a Scripps Howard Texas Poll.The poll of 1,000 adults taken Aug. 7-30 had an error margin of 3.5 percentage points, larger for subgroups like registered voters.