Even his detractors will freely admit that Barrack Obama has charisma and an outstanding ability to communicate, but now the other challengers for the 2008 presidential race have also discovered that Obama can raise cash, lots and lots of it. The Illinois senator’s campaign released more details on Wednesday about the sources of Obama’s $25 million first quarter haul. He had 100,000 contributors, over half of which donated on line for a total of $6.9 million. By contrast, Hillary Clinton had 50,000 donors and only raised $4.2 million on line.  Obama’s campaign may not be full of “big fish”, but he was still able to come within $1 million of Hillary Clinton’s record shattering total.

All of this is even more impressive when one takes into account that Obama was a national political nobody as little as three years ago. I think it is fair to draw the conclusions that Obama is a legitimate candidate, and that Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Democratic nomination is far from a done deal. However Obama, much like Mitt Romney, has to now be able to translate those donations into votes. Obama, unlike a Romney, is still running a solid and consistent second in the majority of polls. The big surprise polling and fundraising wise has been the surge of John Edwards.

 A new CNN/WMUR poll of New Hampshire Democrats found that Hillary Clinton has lost 8 points of support over the past month in the state. Edwards has gained 5 points, and Obama lost a point. Currently Clinton leads the now second place Edwards and Obama by a 27%-21%-20% breakdown. Unlike the Republican field, which I think is still wide open for anyone to enter the race and making an impact, the Democratic primary is boiling down to a three person race.

The other key distinction between the fundraising of the top three Democratic candidates is that Edwards and Obama raised most of their money for use in the primary campaign. The rule is that contributors may donate a maximum of $2,300 to a candidate in each of the primary and general elections, but if the candidate does not win the nomination, they must return the money that was raised for general election spending. $23.5 million of Obama’s $25 million was raised for spending in the primary campaign. In the case of Edwards, $13 of the $14 million he raised is for the primaries. The Clinton campaign has not released the breakdown for the funds she raised, but it is known that Clinton concentrated on getting donations for both the primary and general elections.

Everyone knew that the goal of the Clinton campaign was to try to blow her opponents away with superior fundraising, but it would appear that the anti-Hillary forces are much stronger than the Clintons gave them credit for. There are plenty of conservatives who see Hillary as a liberal and they refuse to believe that there are a lot of Democrats out there who don’t like, and don’t trust her.

Hillary is not a liberal or a conservative. She is a Clinton, and Clintons tend to do what is best for them selves first. Plus, much like John McCain, her position on the Iraq war is costing her support. Clinton is also similar to John Kerry in ’04 because she either keeps changing her position on Iraq, or when asked, she gives a nuanced answer. When you add all this up, it looks Hillary Clinton has a lot of reasons to worry, maybe even 25 million of them.

Link to the NH Democratic CNN Poll

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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