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POLL SHOWS GORE, TEXAS GOV. BUSH AHEAD FOR 2000

Vice President Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush hold commanding leads among Democrats and Republicans in an early presidential preference poll released Friday.

The survey, conducted by independent pollster John Zogby for Campaigns & Elections magazine, had relatively small samples of Democrats and Republicans -- 373 Democrats and 327 Republicans -- and carried relatively high statistical margins of error of 5.1 and 5.5 percentage points, respectively.

However, the results were still striking. Among Democrats, 49 percent favored Gore to be their presidential nominee for 2000. Civil rights leader Jesse L. Jackson polled 9 percent, but he is considered unlikely to run.

Among those who are actively considering challenges to Gore, House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt polled a scant 4.5 percent. Former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley had a little less than 4 percent, Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey had less than 2 percent, and 29 percent said they were unsure.

Bush, son of the former president, led among Republican voters with 31 percent, ahead of publisher Steve Forbes with 11 percent and former Vice President Dan Quayle with 10 percent.

Quayle was a half a percentage point in front of former Housing Secretary Jack F. Kemp. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who is considering a presidential bid, scored only 4 percent, and other contenders even less.

Many observers have speculated that part of Bush's strength comes from name confusion between him and his father, who was president from 1989 to 1993. The poll supplied evidence that this confusion exists in the minds of many voters.

In a similar poll in February, Bush was identified only by his name. In the March poll, he was identified as "governor of Texas and son of former President Bush." His rating fell by almost 11 points in the second poll.

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