A look at voter thinking in Tuesday's presidential election:


  • OVERALL: George W. Bush won solid majorities of men, whites and thewealthy. Al Gore was winning among women, blacks, Hispanics and thoseearning below $30,000.
  • FAMILIES: Bush was leading among voters who were married, particularlythose with children; Gore was doing better among those who were not married.
  • RELIGION: Bush was leading among Protestants, and Gore was leading amongJews and those who did not identify with any religion. Bush and Gore weresplitting the Catholic vote. The more likely a voter was to attend religiousservices, the more likely he or she was to vote for Bush.
  • PARTY: Bush and Gore each had overwhelming leads among Republicans andDemocrats, respectively. They were running even among independents, with asmall chunk of independent voters favoring Ralph Nader.

  • LATE DECIDERS: Nearly one in five voters said they made up their minds inthe last week, and Gore had a solid lead with this group. Bush and Gore werevery close among voters who decided earlier.
  • MODERATES: About half of voters considered themselves politically moderate,and they favored Gore. More voters called themselves conservative thanliberal; conservatives heavily favored Bush and liberals heavily favoredGore.
  • UNIONS: About one in four voters came from a union household, and a solidmajority of them were supporting Gore.
  • CLINTON VOTERS: Gore was holding on to the vast majority of those who votedfor President Clinton in 1996, though Bush was doing better among Clintonvoters than Gore was doing among those who voted for Republican Bob Dole.Bush also won the lion's share of those who supported Reform Party nomineeRoss Perot in 1996.

  • MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES: Bush was winning among voters who cared most aboutworld affairs and taxes. Gore was winning among voters who cared most aboutMedicare/prescription drugs, Social Security, health care, economy/jobs andeducation.
  • MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES: Bush was winning among voters who cared mostabout a candidate being honest, a strong leader and having good judgment ina crisis. Gore was winning those who cared most about someone who ``caresabout people like me,'' who has the right experience and who understandscomplex issues.
  • ISSUES OR PERSONALITY?: A solid majority of voters said a candidate'sposition on issues was more important to them than leadership and personalqualities.
  • BUSH-DRUNKEN DRIVING: About one in four voters said the revelation lastweek of Bush's 1976 arrest for drunken driving was very or somewhatimportant to their vote. Those voters went overwhelmingly for Gore.
  • SAY ANYTHING?: Voters were more likely to believe that Gore would sayanything to get elected than that Bush would. But a large chunk of voters -about four in 10 - thought they both would.
  • SMART ENOUGH?: Voters were more likely to believe that Gore had theknowledge needed to serve effectively as president than they were to thinkthe same of Bush.
  • HONEST ENOUGH?: More voters thought Bush was honest and trustworthy enoughto be president than felt that way about Gore.
  • RESERVATIONS: Four in 10 voters had reservations about their choice forpresident. Gore's supporters were more likely to have reservations abouttheir vote than were Bush voters.
  • INTERNATIONAL CRISIS: Voters were slightly more likely to believe that Gorewould do a good job handling an international crisis.
  • PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Asked how the government should help senior citizenspay for their prescriptions, a majority preferred increased financing forMedicare, which Gore has proposed. Gore voters favored that planoverwhelmingly, while Bush voters more narrowly supported providing moneyfor seniors to buy private insurance coverage - Bush's proposal.
  • SOCIAL SECURITY: A majority of voters supported allowing individuals toinvest some of their Social Security taxes in the stock market, as Bushproposed, and two-thirds of those voters backed Bush.
  • MILITARY: Almost half of voters thought the U.S. military has become weakersince Clinton took office; more than one-third believed it stayed about thesame. Bush's voters overwhelmingly said it was worse, while Gore supporterswere divided on the question.
  • COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVE?: Bush's effort to position himself as acompassionate conservative appeared to have made inroads. About half ofvoters said his positions on the issues were about right; about a third saidhe was too conservative.

  • FAMILY FINANCES: Half the voters said their personal finances were betternow than four years ago, and they overwhelmingly voted for Gore. Most othervoters said things were about the same, and these voters favored Bush by2-to-1.
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