In CA, Gore Slipping, Nader Rising, Bush Holding, Clinton Missing

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - Despite the pleading of California Democrats, Vice President Al Gore has not visited California since Sept. 20, and he has no plans to do so in the final two weeks of the campaign - something that distresses Gore supporters, who are watching Gore's lead in the polls narrow.

Gore's double-digit lead has narrowed to 5 or 6 points in the latest state surveys, as Green Party candidate Ralph Nader steps up his own California campaign, draining votes from Gore in the process.

"We're all getting more nervous about it," wire services quote Democratic pollster Paul Maslin as saying. "We have a triple threat: They (Republicans) have more money, more energy, and we have a Ralph Nader drag."

Maslin and other Democrats want President Clinton - still very popular in California -- to ride to Gore's rescue, and there's word that the president may campaign in California on Gore's behalf very soon.

Meanwhile, the Republican governors of Rhode Island, Arizona, and Massachusetts all will stump for Bush in California Tuesday, and the GOP is about to roll out several new Spanish language ads promoting Bush. The GOP presidential candidate refuses to give up on the state where he's campaigned repeatedly, and he'll be back there to campaign again before Election Day.

California Democrats reportedly are pressuring the Gore campaign for a larger Gore presence - in person or through advertising. "No one is holding out hope that Gore will come," however, according to an "influential party member" quoted by wire services.

Wire services report that Democrats have a 46-35 percent edge over Republicans when it comes to voter registration in California.

But despite that advantage, a Public Policy Institute poll released Monday shows Gore leading Bush by five points in California -- 44 to 39 percent -- with Nader now at 6 percent (up two points from last month). Eight percent of voters said they were undecided.

See Earlier Stories:
Bush Narrows Gap in Golden State; GOP Pushes for Votes (20 Oct. 2000)
California Dreamin' and Scheming May Pay Off for Bush (19 Oct. 2000)