Gore holds 11-point lead over Bush in California survey

SAN FRANCISCO - Vice President Al Gore holds an 11-point lead over White House rival Texas Gov. George W. Bush in California, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Hispanics, while aggressively courted by both candidates, prefer Gore by a margin of more than 2-1.

Gore is holding his 46-35 percent lead in the nation's most vote-rich state despite frequent appearances here by Bush and despite the candidacy of consumer activist Ralph Nader, who is siphoning support from Gore.

Field included Nader in his survey for the first time this month, and found him attracting 7 percent of those questioned. About half of those who preferred Nader would otherwise support Gore, the pollsters said.

Reform Party contender Pat Buchanan, a conservative viewed as a potential threat to Bush, drew 2 percent.

Bush and Gore were locked in a statistical tie last year and early this year, but Gore opened a seven-point edge in February and has steadily widened it ever since.

Much of his support comes from his commanding leads among voters in California's two principal population centers, Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay area.

Bush holds a slim lead in the nine Southern California counties other than Los Angeles, and a 12-point lead in the 39 Northern California counties outside the Bay Area.

While the two candidates are running about even among white voters, Hispanic voters prefer Gore 64 percent to 25 percent, and among all other ethnic voters Gore leads by a similar margin.

More of those questioned had an unfavorable view of Bush than a favorable one, while a strong majority had a positive view of Gore.

The poll suggests that Gore benefits from Californians' affection for President Clinton.

Asked whether they would vote for Clinton or Bush in a hypothetical 2000 matchup, 53 percent favored Clinton, 39 percent Bush. And in a contest between Gore and former President Bush, Gore led 52-42 percent.

The poll was based on phone surveys of 642 likely voters from June 9-18. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.


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