Gore Pulls Even in the Polls. Did Bradley Do It?

  • Share
  • Read Later
Al Gore doesn't pay any attention to the polls, of course, but if he was the kind of guy to change his wardrobe, his message or his staff to get people to like him — this is purely hypothetical, you understand — he might want to pay attention to this one. The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll puts Gore in, yes, a statistical dead heat with George W. Bush, with 46 percent of likely voters tapping the veep to 48 percent for Bush, closing Bush's 50-41 lead from just a week ago. Gore now leads among women, 51 percent to 44 percent, and among independents, 44 percent to 41 percent — two categories Bush was trouncing him in last Tuesday. So, what'd Gore eat for breakfast last week?

Well, polls are shifty beasts, and even shiftier than usual in July, when many voters' opinions are just beginning to form. But some pundit consensus has emerged on Gore's suddenly successful vote-hunting, and one of them might even be useful down the road. The transient? Bill Bradley. The languorous ex-candidate's equally languorous endorsement of Gore last week is thought to have attracted some independents to the Gore cause. Trouble is, these folks will probably hang around about as long as Bradley himself, who promptly disappeared. And John McCain is just waiting to steal them back in Philadelphia.

The meatier possibility is that the Supreme Court — and abortion — could be ready to work for Gore. The latest slate of decisions, once digested, may have gotten some, women in particular, worried about aging Justices and four to eight years of a conservative president. Bush is playing down the issue, but if he makes abortion a litmus test for his veep, why not his Justices? If Bush does as expected and ditches Tom Ridge (or George Pataki) next week for a pro-life running mate, Gore may find that a potent weapon has fallen right into his lap.

Or maybe it was just that nice suit.