The Campaign That Couldn't Shoot Straight

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Just one week before Republicans gather in San Diego to crown their party's presidential candidate, a new TIME/CNN poll shows that Bob Dole's party is fighting a steeper uphill battle than ever, and that no matter whom the Reform Party nominates this month, this year's presidential election will be a two-man race. According to the poll of more than 2,000 registered voters, the small bump that followed Dole's dramatic decision to resign from the Senate and devote himself fulltime to his presidential campaign has evaporated. Once again, Bill Clinton is leading Dole by a margin of 20 points, or 58 to 38 percent. Ross Perot would take from both sides: in a three-way race with Ross Perot, Clinton loses almost none of his margin, still leading Dole by 53 to 33 percent, with Perot taking nine percent. If former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm is the Reform Party's candidate, Clinton tops Dole by 55 to 35 percent; Lamm captures just five percent. Worse, while 59 percent of those polled said they have a favorable impression of Clinton, only 43 percent said the same of Dole. Meanwhile, 58 percent have an unfavorable impression of Perot, while 68 percent are not sure just who Lamm is. While 21 percent said they believe that the Reform Party is a genuine third political party, 90 percent said there is no chance Perot can win the election, 55 percent said that Perot is running merely to promote himself for his own personal reasons, and 66 percent viewed the Reform Party as nothing but a platform for Perot's aggrandizement. -->