While it is too early to say how John McCain’s endorsement of George W. Bush will affect the presidential race, it is clear that a Bush-McCain ticket tests very strongly. Bush is currently in a statistical dead-heat with Al Gore (leading among registered voters 46%-45%). But with McCain as the vice-presidential nominee, the GOP ticket beats a hypothetical Gore-Bill Bradley pairing by nearly ten points (49%-39%), according to two separate Pew Research Center surveys conducted April 27-May 7, and May 2-May 6, 2000. Full results will be made available Thursday, May 11.
McCain has repeatedly said he would not accept the vice-presidential nod (and reiterated that in Pittsburgh today), but a Bush-McCain ticket would give Republicans a leg up with several key demographic groups. With McCain on board, women, senior citizens and those on the West coast shift their allegiances. While they prefer Gore in a head-to-head match-up, they opt for Bush when McCain is part of the package. The shift among seniors is especially striking: they choose Gore over Bush (49%-40%), but opt for Bush/McCain over Gore/Bradley 48%-37%.
Independents break narrowly for Bush under either scenario. 3However, Gore loses some Democrats with McCain on the GOP ticket: 79% of Democrats remain loyal to the vice president, vs. 90% of Republicans who would vote for Bush and McCain.