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Posted by on May 1, 2007 in Politics | 3 comments

Obama Gains On And Surpasses Clinton In Polls

New York Senator Hillary Clinton has a good reason to be glancing over her shoulder as she and her highly efficient and well-funded campaign proceed with what they hope will be her march to the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination:

Illinois Senator Barack Obama is quickly playing catch up with her in the polls — and has surpassed her in one survey to become the 2008 presidential sweepstake’s Democratic front runner.

Rasmussen Reports:

For the first time in the Election 2008 season, somebody other than New York Senator Hillary Clinton is on top in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows Illinois Senator Barack Obama with a statistically insignificant two point advantage over the former First Lady. It’s Obama 32% Clinton 30%. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards remains in third with support holding steady at 17%. No other candidate tops 3%. The survey was conducted April 23-26, 2007 meaning that the overwhelming majority of the interviews were completed before last Thursday’s debate in South Carolina. The impact of the debate will be measured in polling conducted this week.

One poll after the debate indicated Obama was perceived to have won, but other reviews from pundits and observers on his performance were mixed. MORE:

Following a surprisingly strong fundraising report released at the end of March, Obama steadily gained ground during April. The last Rasmussen Reports poll released in March found Clinton enjoying a dozen-point lead. Since then, Clinton’s support has fallen seven percentage points while Obama’s total has increased the same amount.

TRANSLATION: Clinton is facing rapid erosion in her support. Unanswered question: did her debate performance stem it? Another concern: Obama is getting younger voters:

Obama now leads among voters under 40. Clinton is strongest among those 65 and older. Clinton has a two-point edge among Democrats. Obama has a nineteen-point lead among independents likely to vote in a Democratic primary.

Last week, the two top candidates were tied at 32%. Two weeks ago, Clinton had a two-point lead. Three weeks ago, it was Clinton by five. The week before that, the former First Lady was up by seven.

Pollster.com also has news that can’t be reassuring to Clinton and her top-tier political team:

Here is something of an exclusive (for the moment – and we’ll spare you the flashing red light): Our friends at the Cook Political Report have shared advanced results of the latest Cook/RT Strategies survey on 2008 presidential primary preference (conducted over the last three days, April 27-30, among 1,000 adults nationwide).

Their results for Democrats show a tightening national race in the last month. Among 389 registered voters that identify with or lean to the Democrats, the survey shows Clinton leading with 32%, followed by Obama at 24%, Edwards at 15%, Gore at 11% and all other candidates in the low single digits. Without Gore in the race, they show Clinton leading Obama by ten points (36% to 26%) trailed by Edwards at 18%.

On the previous survey (of 355 Democrats) in late March – which did not include Al Gore as a potential candidate – they showed Clinton with a 24 point lead over Obama (41% to 17%), who ran two points behind Edwards (at 19%). The nine-point increase in Obama’s vote over the last month on this survey (from 17% to 26%) is statistically significant despite the small sample sizes, although the five point decline for Clinton (from 41% to 36%) is not.

For those watching, four national surveys (NBC/Wall Street Journal, USA Today/Gallup, CNN and Rasmussen) have shown a similar narrowing, while four others (ABC/Washington Post, the Pew Research Center, CBS News and Fox News/Opinion Dynamics) have not.

A slew of factors could be involved in this. Clinton has been around for a while and her task was to soften pockets of resistance to her and try to expand her support. Obama is still a relatively new political commodity on the national scene and is not as firmly defined in the public’s mind as Clinton is. And then there are the wildcards: how DID that debate play out in terms of helping or hurting Clinton or Obama? And will last week’s flap about conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh playing a song parody about Obama that many feel is racist help the Illinois Senator by further turning public attention to him?

TMV thanks SolidPolitics.com for the tips.

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