Vice President Gore dismisses his dismal showing in recent polls as "truly meaningless" but still expects to face a hard-fought battle with Bill Bradley for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
In an interview Thursday with Reuters, Gore also dismissed as myth reports that he put together an unwieldy campaign top-heavy with high-priced advisers.
Asked if he was worried that polls have consistently shown him trailing Republican presidential front runner George W. Bush by a double-digit margin, Gore said:
"It's now 13 1/2 months from the election. Polls at this stage are truly meaningless. In fact, I can't remember an election without an incumbent president where the person ahead in the polls one year before the voting has actually ended up winning the race."
Not all Democrats share that view. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, who endorsed Bradley on Thursday, said Gore was unelectable and cited his poor performance in polls as evidence.
Gore said he expected a tough struggle against Bradley.
Polls have shown the Gore-Bradley race tightening to the point where it is a virtual dead heat in New York and New Hampshire, which will hold the first state primary in February, a week after the Iowa caucuses.
"You will see in New Hampshire and in Iowa an increasing focus by voters there on what choice they would like to make," Gore said. "It's natural and inevitable that a two-person race will tighten. That is always the case. This will be a hard-fought contest in which I will compete fiercely for every single vote."
A CBS News poll released Thursday showed Bradley trailing Gore by 50 percent to 32 percent nationwide among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
The New York Times quoted some Gore advisers today expressing concern that his campaign was spending too much money on high-priced analysts.
Some even fear that Bradley, who has raised much less money than Gore but also has spent less, might be ahead of Gore when the campaigns disclose their third-quarter fund raising next week.
Gore said his money had been well-spent on building a grass-roots organization and on his national campaign tour.