GORE & BRADLEY: Candidates Campaign in California
Democratic presidential hopefuls Vice President Al Gore and Bill Bradley began their campaigns in "delegate-rich" California last week, hoping to "more sharply define their differences." Gore began in the Los Angeles area calling Bradley a "good man with a bad plan" to offer universal health coverage. He also claimed that his background made him more qualified to work with Congress than his rival. Bradley, beginning in San Francisco, said that national health care "has been a part of the Democratic platform for 50 years" and is "one of those issues ... that distinguishes me from Al Gore." At least one debate between the two candidates will be held in California (Scales, Boston Globe, 2/4). According to a Field Poll, Gore's win in New Hampshire has helped propel him to a lead of 41 points over Bradley among California voters.
The poll also shows that GOP candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) has cut opponent Texas Gov. George W. Bush's lead in half, thanks to his victory in the New Hampshire primary. With four weeks to go before Californians cast their votes, McCain trails Bush by 19 percentage points, down from 40 points three weeks ago. Although the voting sample was too small to draw accurate conclusions, Latinos were shown to support Gore over either Bush or McCain in a general election, with the Democrat winning 60% of the vote. The Field Poll surveyed 1,186 registered California voters, 775 of whom said they would likely vote in the March 7 primary. The margin for error is +/- 3.6 points (Ostrom, San Jose Mercury News, 2/7).