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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.
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. 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.
A separate surveyfound that Clinton is seen as politically liberal by 52% of American voters. Forty-four percent (44%) say the same about Obama while 39% see Edwards as politically liberal. Perceptions of Clinton’s ideology have shifted a bit closer to the political center in recent months. Obama has moved in the opposite direction—more to the left.
However, while Clinton is seen as being somewhat to the left of Obama among all voters, that is not the case among Democrats. Democrats tend to view most of their leading candidates as politically moderate. Perceptions among Democrats of Clinton and Obama are very similar.
Obama and Clinton are the frontrunners, but Edwards does best in general election match-ups. He leads all GOP hopefuls and is the only Democrat to lead the Republican frontrunner, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (see match-ups and favorability ratings for all Democratic candidates.