`Picking Al Gore Was A Good Move'

Can Clinton win? Yes, if he corrals the voters who deserted the Democrats after 1976. From Northern cities to Southern towns, many "Reagan Democrats" are giving the Arkansas governor another look. Clinton must also turn out black and pro-choice voters. Here's a look at several voters considering Clinton:


Steven Leroy Waldrop is the kind of voter whom Bill Clinton would love to win over. Fed up with President Bush and leery of Ross Perot's lack of political experience, Waldrop is giving Clinton a second look. But the 39-year-old builder from Brooks, Ga., a tiny town about 40 miles south of Atlanta, won't be an easy sell.

The last ballot Waldrop cast was for Ronald Reagan in 1984. Since then, Waldrop says, he has had no interest in politics. "To tell you the truth, things seem so corrupt now, I don't know if there's a way to turn it back," he says.

The Georgia native says he also has been too busy for politics. Waldrop and his brother own a construction company, and thanks to a big subdivision contract and other jobs in this growing area, Waldrop managed to gain ground despite the slow housing market.

Nevertheless, he isn't happy with Bush's handling of the economy. "I'm kind of disillusioned with the tax picture," he says. "I'm sick of the middle class carrying the burden for this whole country." The Democrats' appeal to the middle class has caught his attention. Waldrop also likes the idea of voting for a winner. Now that Senator Al Gore is filling out the ticket, Waldrop figures the Democrats will carry the South. "Picking Al Gore was a good move," says Waldrop. "He's a straight shooter."

Clinton's liberal social views are another matter. "I'd like to see strict laws against abortion," he says. "This is where I agree with Bush. It's going to be hard to vote for Clinton knowing how he feels about that."

For now, Waldrop remains undecided. But if folks in the nearby town of Senoia, Ga., are any indication, he doesn't have much company. There, disillusioned voters are flocking to Perot. "People want change," says local hardware store owner J. B. Hutchinson Jr., who won't say how he'll vote. "That's why Perot is a phenomenon around here." Comments like that suggest Clinton and Gore had better not assume they've sewn up the South.

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