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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The narrowing gap between President Clinton and Republican Dole in recent preferential polls comes as no surprise to two University of Tennessee political scientists.

“A week can be a lifetime in American politics,” UT-Martin political scientist Ted Mosch said Monday.

“All these large leads begin to fade. They do in every election,” said Dr. William Lyons, a pollster at UT-Knoxville.

The latest Time-CNN telephone survey of 807 registered voters, released Friday, indicates Clinton’s lead over Dole is now only 6 percentage points, down 16 from a month ago. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

“There’s been a lot of bad news (for Clinton) coming out of the Whitewater situation,” Lyons said. “Thirdly, Dole has gotten some good media, some good press, and has made a positive move by deciding to go full time into the campaign and to leave the Senate. It obviously was a smart political move.”

Also in the new round of polls, Clinton was leading 13 percentage points in a U.S. News and World Report survey and by 10 percentage points in the Fox News count. The Harris group reported Dole trailing by 17 points but gaining.

“Clinton has the advantage of the incumbency,” Mosch said.

Contact: Bill Lyons (423-974-2845)