In the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination, New York Senator Hillary Clinton has fallen below the 40% mark for the first time in more than two weeks. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Clinton at 38% and Illinois Senator Barack Obama at 27%. Clinton’s lead over Obama has declined for four straigusht days, ever since she made controversial comments defending lobbyists at the Yearly Kos bloggers’ convention over the weekend (see daily history). Just 24% of voters believe that Clinton would not be influenced by lobbyists.
However, while Clinton’s lead has gotten smaller in recent days, the decline follows several months of growing strength for Clinton. In fact, the most recent Rasmussen Reports weekly analysis of the Democratic race was titled “Clinton Rising, Obama Falling.” The reversal over the last few days merely puts the race back to where it was for most of June and July—Clinton in the mid-to-upper 30s and Obama in the mid-20s. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards remains in third place with support from 13% of Likely Democratic Primary Voters. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson tops the second tier of candidates at 4%.
As is always the case with daily tracking polls, it will take several more days to determine whether the most recent trend reflects an actual change in the race or is merely statistical noise.