By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Weinstein
By Tessa Stuart
WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 6With three major tracking polls showing George W. Bush leading Al Gore by as much as nine points, The Washington Times, an astute conservative newspaper, reports this morning that "it's in the bag" for the Texas governor.
As proof, the Washington daily cites Bush strategist Karl Rove's internal polling data that suggests Bush will get 320 electoral votes. Rove expects the Republican to poll "50 to 51 percent versus 44, 45 percent" for the Democrat.
But John Zogby, the Utica pollster who is tracking the race for Reuters, said this morning that the contest is much too close to call. Gore had two good days in the polls, he claims, and this morning both Pennsylvania and Florida are breaking for the vice president, albeit by narrow margins. The race in California has tightened, but Zogby says Michigan and Illinois ought to go for Gore. The vice president's home state of Tennessee right now is leaning toward Bush, as are Missouri and Wisconsin.
This morning, Sam Smith's Prorev.com Morning Line reports Bush was leading by an average of 5.1 percent. Morning Line said the Texas governor was ahead of Gore by 7 votes in the electoral college250 to 243. But by late afternoon, Bush's average lead had shrunk to 4.1 percent, but his electoral college lead increased to 52.
With the race this close, Morning Line says Ralph Nader can potentially swing 85 electoral votes.
The surging Green is more of a factor than ever. He is holding at about 5 percent nationally, and is strong in all the contested battleground states. In Pennsylvania, for example, Nader now is at 7 percent. In Florida, where the Bush and Gore are statistically even, he has 4 percent. Nader is drawing anywhere from 4 to 10 percent in Oregon; 7 to 8 percent in Washington; 7 in Wisconsin; 5 in Michigan; and 6 in Maine.
Other polls point to an impending Gore defeat.
Voter.com's battleground-state polls pegs Bush at 46, Gore at 37, and Nader at 5 percent.
Rasmussen's Portrait of America shows Bush at 48, Gore at 46 and Nader at 5 percent.