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Friday, 10 December, 1999, 15:42 GMT
McCain leads Bush in polls

McCain in NH John McCain talks to war veterans in New Hampshire


George W Bush, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has fallen behind his rival, Arizona Senator John McCain, in New Hampshire polls.



What people are doing is making up their minds
George W Bush
The state is considered crucial in the race to take the top job in the United States, as it holds the country's first presidential primary on 1 February.

In a survey by Franklin Pierce College and WNDS-TV, Senator McCain drew the support of 43% of likely Republican voters compared with 28% for Mr Bush.

The poll of 360 likely Republican voters and 325 likely Democratic voters was taken this week, and had a 5% margin of error.


Bush in NH George W Bush (left) chats to a voter in New Hampshire
And an American Research Group poll on Wednesday showed Mr McCain had the support of 37% of likely Republican voters, compared with 30% for Mr Bush. The poll had a 4% margin of error.

Correspondents say voters in the Granite State like their politicians to be hardy characters - and, as the senator spent five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, where he withstood physical and mental abuse, he has a robust image.

Polls 'bounce around'

Mr Bush refused to be rattled by the results.

"What people are doing is making up their minds. That's what this is all about."

He said polls have "bounced around" in recent weeks.


al gore in cyber cafe Al Gore types an e-mail to his rival, Bill Bradley
Mr Bush, the governor of Texas and son of former president George Bush, leads the six-man Republican field by a wide margin in national polls. He is the overwhelming choice of the party establishment.

In the Democrats' camp, recent polls showed Bill Bradley taking a slim lead in New Hampshire over Vice President Al Gore, his only rival for the nomination.

National surveys showed Mr Gore with double-digit leads.

The US presidential elections will be held in November 2000.

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See also:
26 Nov 99 |  Americas
US embraces cult of personality
17 Nov 99 |  Americas
McCain - going for the veteran vote
03 Dec 99 |  Americas
Bush survives debut debate

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