Saturday Morning News
Poll Shows New Hampshire Primary Draws Little National AttentionAired January 29, 2000 - 9:32 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And for some insight into the final weekend of campaigning in New Hampshire, let's bring in our own Carol Lin, who's anchoring the CNN political desk in Manchester.
Good morning, Carol.
CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kyra, hope you're staying warm.
PHILLIPS: Hey, I'm trying to. I hope you are also.
PHILLIPS: Well, listen, the big talk around here, of course, is Super Bowl Sunday. Out there it's paying attention to the campaign, at least it seems like it. Do you think that's what's going on, or do you think people are getting distracted from the Super Bowl?
LIN: Well, you know, Kyra, it was interesting, this morning I read in "The New York Times," they cited a poll which indicated that only 26 percent of the electorate across the country right now was even paying attention to this campaign. And six percent, only six percent, were paying close attention.
Now, it just so happens that 6 percent of the population works for the government or is involved in the media, so you sort of get the feeling that we're the only ones who are really honing in.
Lots of distractions. The economy is good, people are feeling good, and I think they're going to think about this Monday night before they go to the polls Tuesday.
PHILLIPS: Interesting. Now, for you, you've sort of been behind the scenes. You've had a chance to meet a lot of the candidates. Has anyone left an impression on you, someone that maybe seems a different way to you personally versus on television?
LIN: Well, you raise an interesting point. Yesterday I interviewed Gary Bauer, and I've seen him many times on television. He comes across as very socially conservative, of course, and some of his positions might even come across as somewhat strident.
Yet you meet the man, and he's very charming and he's very personable and self-effacing, which to me was surprising. It's not what I expected. I think I experienced what many of the voters here are experiencing.
One in four New Hampshire voters actually get to shake hands with a candidate and ask questions, which indicates one of the reasons why the polling here is so volatile. I keep hearing that people will make up their minds about one candidate, and then suddenly meet another and say, Well, he's a pretty nice guy, maybe I should consider him.
PHILLIPS: All right. Now, negative campaigning, I remember the first campaign I ever covered, we really saw a lot of mudslinging and a lot of really crazy things in regard to commercials. Do you see that in this campaign?
LIN: Boy, remember that phrase, Kyra, we always heard, the politics of self-destruction?
PHILLIPS: Oh, yes.
LIN: The -- you know, this campaign, though, there's a lot of talk about who's being more negative than the other guy. Frankly, considering the races in the past here in New Hampshire, this has been a tea party, comparatively.
I mean, back in 1988, you remember that Vice President Bush called Senator Dole Senator Straddle, and then back in 1996 Steve Forbes launched his infamous negative ad campaign that really damaged Dole and was a turning point.
You don't see that. This is a very issue-oriented campaign. The irony is that because it's an issue-oriented campaign -- or not because, but it is an issue-oriented campaign, and yet the voters here seem to be making their decision based on personalities. Who do they like? Simply because they feel good about the times.
So it's a little bit of the opposite. You know, back in '96 we were demanding more issues and less personality. This time the voters are looking for personality.
PHILLIPS: Well, I hope you're having a good time out there. Seems like you're learning a lot.
LIN: I can't wait to see what happens Wednesday morning.
PHILLIPS: All right. Hurry home. Thanks a lot. Carol Lin...
PHILLIPS: ... reporting live on the primaries.
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