Michael Dukakis continued his march toward the Democratic nomination with a lopsided win in the Oregon primary Tuesday. Democratic rival Jesse Jackson, however, warned his opponent not to count him out yet. Vice-President George Bush, who already has a lock on the Republican nomination, picked up all 32 GOP delegates in Oregon. But Mr. Bush was getting less attention for winning another primary than for trailing Governor Dukakis in a series of recent polls.
And Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who dropped out of the GOP race in March, skimmed off nearly a fifth of the vote in Oregon. It doesn't help Mr. Dole anymore, but it points to weakness that could hurt Bush in November.
Dukakis captured 56 percent of the vote in Oregon to Jackson's 38 percent. ``Today the people of Oregon voted for change,'' said the Massachusetts governor, who has won nine of the last 10 primary contests. ``They voted for a candidate who can win the presidency.''
A pair of polls released yesterday suggested that Dukakis was widening his lead over Bush in a hypothetical matchup. A poll by the Los Angeles Times indicated that in California, Dukakis had a 17-point lead over the vice-president. In that survey, Dukakis had 53 percent to Bush's 36 percent, with 11 percent undecided.
Another poll - a nationwide Gallup survey commissioned by the Boston Globe and Boston stations WEEI and WCVB - suggested Dukakis was ahead of Bush 54 percent to 38 percent.
These surveys followed a New York Times/CBS News poll published Tuesday that showed Dukakis leading Bush 49 percent to 39 percent. Bush, asked about the Tuesday survey, acknowledged that the numbers were not encouraging. But the vice-president quickly pointed to surveys taken just before the New Hampshire primary - which he won handily - that suggested he was well behind. And he said he hasn't really gone head-to-head with his Democratic rival yet.
``The thing hasn't really started in terms of Democrats vs. Republicans, and we haven't gotten any of that in focus, and it won't be until after the convention,'' Bush said as he campaigned in California.
Dukakis has been saying he doesn't attach much significance to surveys on a contest still months away. But he could not conceal a certain amount of glee.
``All I can say is I think something is cooking out there,'' the governor said Tuesday.
The Democrats' primary season will conclude with contests June 7 in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Montana.
Democratic race: the delegate count Dukakis 1,642.20 Jackson 974.10 Gore 401.00 Simon 174.00 Others 5.00 Uncommitted 497.75 Needed to nominate: 2,081.00 Total delegate votes: 4,161.00 Chosen thus far: 3,694.05 Still to be chosen: 466.95 Source: Associated Press