Candidates Canvass Nation on Last Day

In their last bids to influence voters who will go to the polls today, both Vice President George Bush and Gov. Michael S. Dukakis canvassed the country and predicted victory for their presidential candidacies yesterday.

The vice president confidently said the nation was "coming in behind my candidacy" while his underdog rival vowed he would spring a stunning "November surprise."

Both men raced across America in a final-day search for support while their campaigns spent nearly $1 million apiece on competing 30-minute evening appeals on network television. Bush, the leader in the polls, also aired a new five-minute commercial that sharply attacked his Democratic rival.

"It's in the hands of the gods and the American people," the vice president said before heading for Houston and the final rally of his campaign.

Dukakis was campaigning into overtime in a desperation drive for an upset. He told a crowd of 20,000 in California that voters would kick Bush "right out of our future."


Democrats expressed confidence they would command majorities in the 101st Congress that will govern alongside the new president. They also angled for modest gains in the dozen statehouse races on today's ballot.

The final day of America's longest, costliest and--some say--nastiest presidential campaign left little room for subtlety.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd M. Bentsen appeared on stage in Texas with a caged quail--an obvious dig at his Republican rival, Dan Quayle.

Bush threw a stinging jab at Dukakis, saying, "We don't want to return to my opponent's favorite song: 'For all you do, this recession is for you.'"

Dukakis campaigned without letup on his pledge to stand up for "average working families." Grabbing rest when he could on his plane, he flew to asunrise political service in Cleveland, then arally in St. Louis, where he was greeted by a bandplaying "Rock Around the Clock." Still to come wasmore campaigning on the West Coast, then anothermiddle-of-the-night flight to an Iowa rally andelection-morning appearances in Michigan.

"I don't need sleep, I'm charging," he said inOhio. "We're going to win," he added, predicting a"November surprise" that would land him in theWhite House.

The polls said otherwise, and few outside theDukakis inner circle raised their voice todisagree. Pollster Lou Harris was one. He saidBush's margin was shrinking steadily.

But the last soundings by others made the vicepresident a favorite by anywhere from five to 12points, and most surveys made his advantage in theElectoral College handsome, indeed.

The Associated Press' tabulation showed Bushahead in states with 356 electoral votes, althoughhe could not count securely on the 270 needed forvictory. It showed Dukakis with 101 and another 81in states rated as tossups, includingPennsylvania, Illinois and Missouri.

Bush sounded buoyant as he flew fromsnow-dusted Michigan to Ohio, Missouri and finallytoward a campaign curtain-closer in Houston.