WASHINGTON -- The often-maligned presidential polls have had their problems in recent months. In the final surveys before the election, however, most showed Democrat Al Gore gaining ground on Republican George W. Bush and called the presidential race a virtual tossup.
Final election polls are the acid test for pollsters, who get a harsh dose of reality a day or so later when the votes are counted. A major complication is to identify likely voters.
"The polls did pretty well," said Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, whose poll closed Monday to a 2-point Bush advantage within the error margin, 49 percent to 47 percent.
Kohut noted many major national polls were in the same ballpark, and most admitted the race was too close to project a winner.
Two national polls, by CBS News and New York pollster John Zogby, put Gore in a narrow lead for the popular vote, which is exactly how the election turned out.
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