Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley - who trails Vice President Al Gore in the race for the Democratic nomination - remains unknown to most Americans, according to a new CBS News Early Show poll. But what image he does have is largely defined by his years as a star for the New York Knicks.
OPINION OF BRADLEY
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Fifty-five percent of adults say they have not heard enough about Bradley to have an opinion of him, and another 18 percent remain undecided. Bradley has gained some recognition in the past 3 months, and those who know him, like him. Nineteen percent view him favorably, compared to 8 percent who view him unfavorably. Twenty-four percent of Democrats have a favorable impression of Bradley, and only 7 percent view him unfavorably.
Bradley is much better known as a basketball star than as a senator. When asked the first thing that comes to mind when they hear Bradley's name, 11 percent mention his time in basketball - the most frequent answer - while only 2 mention his Senate career. Men are much more familiar with Bradley as an athlete than are women. Here again, however, few people have definite opinions about Bradley: 57 percent do not associate anything when they hear his name.
Many people have trouble evaluating Bradley when asked about him on a host of presidental characteristics, although among those who do, he has wide bipartisan appeal.
DOES BRADLEY ...?
|YES||NO|| DON'T |
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|Understand problems Pres. deals with||43%||24||33|
|Care about problems of people like you||38%||22||40|
|Have strong leadership qualities||35%||22||43|
|Have more honesty and integrity than most in public life||34%||22||44|
|Have right experience to be good Pres.||27%||31||42|
Forty-three percent of adults say that Bradley understands the kinds of complicated problems with which a president has to deal, including 46 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of independents.
People with an opinion also believe Bradley cares about them, has strong qualities of leadership and has more honesty and integrity than most people in public life. On the issue of experience Bradley fares poorly, possibly because the public's image of him is as a basketball star rather than a Senator: 31 percent of adults say he does not have the right kind of experience to be a good president, and only 27 percent say he does.
Bradley gains little in the short run from his widespread appeal, as Democratic primary voters, and even Democrats in general, currently give Gore an edge on all of these same characteristics. Perhaps as a result, Gore continues to lead Bradley by large margins nationally: 58 percent to 26 percent among likely Democratic primary voters.
This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1,065 adults, interviewed by telephone October 28-30, 1999. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus 3 percentage points for the entire sample. For full question wording and poll findings, please contact the CBS Election and Survey Unit at 212-975-5554.