PHOENIX (AP) -- A market research firm's survey of 518 U.S. Protestant ministers indicates 50 percent definitely plan to vote for Republican George W. Bush and another 14 percent probably will.
Ellison Research, which specializes in work for evangelical broadcasters and other nonprofit groups, mailed surveys in May to a random sample of clergy. It said the response rate was 16 percent and the margin of error was 4.3 percent.
The survey did not ask about Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader.
Among clergy in National Council of Churches denominations, Bush edged Democrat Al Gore only by 35 to 34 percent with 31 percent undecided. Bush led strongly among those outside the council.
Gore had only 51 percent support among registered Democrats, with 32 percent undecided. Among independents, Bush led Gore by 41 to 18 percent with 41 percent undecided.
Gore had 72 percent backing among self-described political liberals but they were only 13 percent of the clergy. Bush carried moderates and conservatives.
Ron Sellers, Ellison's president, cautioned that while clergy have influence, congregants might have different opinions.
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