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Down to the Wire: Bush Leads, 15 States up for Grabs

Sunday, 05 November 2000 12:00 AM

Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore have crisscrossed the country and spent tens of millions of advertising dollars in the past two months. But their efforts have done little to alter the electoral map, which showed competitive races in 15 to 20 states around Labor Day.

Today, the battlegrounds still include Florida, with 25 votes, Pennsylvania, with 23, and Michigan, with 18. And in an election that could be the closest in a generation, Bush and Gore are fighting furiously even for Maine's four votes and five each from New Mexico and West Virginia.

Both parties also are actively campaigning in Minnesota (10), Oregon (7), Washington (11) and Wisconsin (11) – Democratic-leaning states in recent presidential elections, but competitive this year because of Ralph Nader's third-party candidacy.

Arkansas (6), Iowa (7), Missouri (11), New Hampshire (4) and Tennessee (11) round out the list of states that most polls indicate remain in play. Bush has delighted in campaigning in Arkansas and Tennessee, home states of President Clinton and Gore, respectively.

Bush leads in the national polls, but the only count that matters is in the Electoral College. A candidate must get 270 electoral votes to win.

"It still could go either way," said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, adding that he thinks Bush holds the advantage because the intensity of his support is greater than that for Gore.

The last gasp of the 2000 campaign is mainly in states that voted Democratic in recent presidential elections. Florida is the major exception. Although it voted for Clinton in 1996, the state is generally considered more friendly to Republicans; and Bush's brother, Jeb, is the governor.

Of the 17 states in which Bush and Gore launched overlapping ad campaigns just after Labor Day, 12 still are fiercely contested, accounting for 133 electoral votes.

The most conservative estimates put together by political analysts and the television networks suggest that Bush is safely ahead in states that hold at least 209 electoral votes. That grouping includes Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

Gore leads in states that account for at least 171 electoral votes, including California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

Copyright 2000 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Race is tight. You can help Bush in last-ditch effort to get out vote.

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Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore have crisscrossed the country and spent tens of millions of advertising dollars in the past two months. But their efforts have done little to alter the electoral map, which showed competitive races in 15 to 20 states around...
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2000-00-05
Sunday, 05 November 2000 12:00 AM
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