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Clinton Has 17-Point Lead Over Dole

President Clinton’s lead over Republican challenger Bob Dole was stable at 17 points in a national tracking poll released Wednesday.

Clinton got 52 percent, Dole 35 percent and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot 5 percent in the rolling average of CNN-USA Today-Gallup polls Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.

The gap had been 14 points in Gallup results released Tuesday, indicating a possible slight tightening of the race since last week, when Clinton led by as much as 23.

Similarly, an ABC News poll Sept. 11-15 found Clinton up by 8 points compared with 15 points the week before. However, any differences between the surveys were statistically slight, and the Gallup results overall have been steady all month.

The new Gallup poll sampled 731 likely voters and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Tracking polls strive for nationally representative samples each night, and multi-night rolling averages are used to smooth out nightly swings.

Meanwhile, Clinton and Dole also are statistically tied in a new poll in Virginia, with 13 electoral votes. The Mason-Dixon Political-Media Research survey of 809 registered voters Sept. 14-16 found 44 percent favoring Dole, 43 percent Clinton and 2 percent Perot.

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