- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Election Day included some surprises on issues and demographics that helped Vice President Al Gore carry key states, exit polls showed.
Exit polls in Florida caused much confusion for networks who based an early and possibly wrong call for Mr. Gore on those projections.
The change by the Voter News Survey of the Florida projection for Mr. Gore caused some havoc last night, not only in the two campaigns but for pollsters.
"The exit-poll numbers were a disaster," said independent pollster John Zogby. "They were relaying unweighted numbers, weighted numbers and projected numbers, sometimes within the same half hour. It was the seven blind men trying to describe the elephant all day."
Mr. Bush's efforts to woo Catholic voters paid off in Florida, where he took a 50 percent to 47 percent advantage over Mr. Gore among Catholics. But the vice president helped offset that number with a strong edge among Jewish voters, who are 4 percent of the Florida electorate.
Mr. Gore had the advantage of a gender gap of 14 percentage points in Florida, where exit polls showed 56 percent of female voters choosing Mr. Gore. Fifty-two percent of men voted for Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
A gender gap was also an advantage for Mr. Gore in the key state of Pennsylvania. There, female voters a majority of the electorate favored Mr. Gore by 54 percent to 42 percent, while male voters went for Mr. Bush 55 percent to 41 percent.
But it was black voters who proved crucial for Mr. Gore in Pennsylvania, as elsewhere. While 51 percent of white voters in Pennsylvania favored Mr. Bush, according to Voter News Service exit polls, 91 percent of black voters chose Mr. Gore. Though they were only 6 percent of the electorate, black voters carried the state for Mr. Gore.
Exit polls showed the Texas governor won strong support from voters who cared about honesty and strong leadership in the next president.
Those were themes Mr. Bush hit hard from beginning of his campaign, saying he would restore honesty and integrity to the Oval Office and that, as governor of the second-largest state, he had demonstrated his ability to lead and to get along with Democrats.
Scott Rasmussen's Portrait of America survey asked people who had already voted what most concerned them, and the top three issues were character, education and Social Security.
The Rasmussen exit poll found that among those most concerned about character, 90 percent voted for Mr. Bush. Among voters most concerned about education, 68 percent said they were for Mr. Gore and 25 percent for Mr. Bush.
On the issue of Social Security, Mr. Gore was winning among voters most concerned about it by 59 percent to 39 percent.
Mr. Gore drew his support from those who wanted experience and a comprehension of complex issues factors the vice president had emphasized to the point of making himself the subject of parodies for his earnest efforts.
Democratic crossover votes helped boost Mr. Bush in the bellwether state of Kentucky, where he got more than 20 percent of the votes of those who identified themselves as Democrats. But in Pennsylvania, 14 percent of Republicans defected to Mr. Gore's column.
In Michigan, union households voted 2-1 for Mr. Gore, and it was testimony to the Democrat's hard work in winning over the AFL-CIO despite its dyspepsia over his all-out free-trade views, as well as his opposition to the internal-combustion engine.
As expected, Mr. Gore led among women, blacks and Hispanics, while Mr. Bush led among men and whites.
Mr. Bush who all along polled well among married men and women with children led among parents, according to the Voter News Service exit polls. But single people have the greater numbers and Mr. Gore led among them.
Both men fared about evenly across the age groups in the electorate.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said unions were key in some states, but where the unions had no muscle, the vote was lopsided toward Mr. Bush. The Georgia Republican cited Mr. Bush's wins in Indiana and Kentucky.
Mr. Bush's Social Security reform proposals were a gamble to begin with, since they gave Mr. Gore an opening to claim that retirement security would be jeopardized by letting people put part of their payroll deductions into private investments like stocks. Younger workers tended to like the idea because it offered them greater returns when they retire.
Mr. Rasmussen said that was one reason why the race was so close in states with concentrations of elderly people, who had been frightened by what Bush partisans labeled Mr. Gore's "scare tactics" on Social Security.
In Florida which was still too close to call late last night Mr. Bush was getting 55 percent of the white vote, while Mr. Gore got 94 percent of the black vote. Hispanics gave Mr. Gore a slight edge, 52 percent to 45 percent.
Despite Mr. Gore's appeals on the Social Security issue, exit polls showed that elderly voters in Florida those 60 and older were split evenly, 49 percent each for Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush.
It was the youngest voters in the state, those under 30, who went most heavily for Mr. Gore 57 percent to 37 percent. Florida voters who said they were "moderates" went for Mr. Gore 53 percent to 43 percent.

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