A WJLA-TV/Gallup survey of the South found that while Vice President Bush has a substantial lead over his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, a majority of those who say they are likely to participate in a Republican primary or caucus March 8 do not describe themselves as strong supporters of any GOP candidate. Jesse L. Jackson has the strongest base of support among the Democratic candidates, with two-third of his supporters -- an almost solidly black group -- strongly backing his candidacy.
Bush, with the highest name recognition and best organization in the region, leads his nearest rival, Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.), 54 percent to 25 percent; the remaining candidates draw 7 percent or less. Among evangelical Christians, who constitute a strong voting block in the South, only 10 percent support Pat Robertson and 17 percent expressed strong opposition to his candidacy.
Hart leads the Democratic field with 27 percent, but his lead is probably due to residual name identification, as has been the case in several previous polls. Hart is followed by Jackson with 21 percent and Gore, who is counting on a strong showing in the South, with 17 percent. The other Democratic candidates have 8 percent or less.
The Jan. 15-17 poll was relatively small, and the views reflected in it could change radically after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.