The Associated Press
WASHINGTON Ÿ Retired Gen. Colin Powell running as the Republican nominee would defeat President Clinton by 15 percentage points if the presidential election were held now, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll.
The survey taken last weekend found Powell would best Clinton 54-to-39 and that Clinton would defeat GOP front-runner Bob Dole 51 percent to 44 percent.
If Powell ran as an independent, he and Clinton would tie at 33 percent and Dole would get 30 percent Ÿ a statistical dead heat given the margin of error.
The poll found Dole and Powell deadlocked among Republicans at 31 percent each in a hypothetical race for the GOP nomination, with all other contenders in single digits.
Among Republicans, 42 percent said Powell's pro-choice position on abortion would make them more likely to vote for him, 31 percent less likely and 25 percent said it would have no effect.
On Powell's support for a waiting period to buy a gun, 62 percent of Republicans questioned said that would make them more likely to vote for him, 16 percent less likely and 20 percent said it would make no difference.
On affirmative action, 37 percent of Republicans said Powell's opposition to quotas while still supporting some type of affirmative action makes them more likely to vote for him, 27 percent less likely and 32 percent said that position makes them neither more nor less likely to vote for him.
The telephone survey of 1,011 adults was taken Friday through Sunday and had an overall margin of error of 3 percent. The subset survey of Republicans had a 5 percent margin of error. The number of Republicans questioned was not given.
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