The big news in this weekâ€™s Rasmussen Reports weekly Democratic poll update is that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) now has double the amount of support of her nearest challenger Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Clinton support has increased this week to a high of 44%, while Obama has slipped back to a low of 22%. This is a decreased level of support that Obama hasnâ€™t seen since February. In almost seven months of weekly polling, Clintonâ€™s support has been at less than 30% support only three times. On the other hand, the Obama campaign has not been above 30% in thirteen weeks, and has been above this mark on only three occasions in the last sixteen weeks.
In third place, John Edwards is at 13%, which now puts him within nine points of Obama. This week marks the fifth time in the last seven polls that Edwards has gotten exactly 13% of the support. As far as the other candidates in the race are concerned, Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Joe Biden, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich each attracted 3% support. Sen. Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel are at 1% and 10% remained undecided. No other candidate, besides Edwards, has been able to draw double digit support. In fact, it would surprise me if most of these other candidates were still in the race after Iowa and New Hampshire. If I was to make a guess, I would say that the Dodd campaign will be the first to officially quit.
With each passing week, it is looking more and more like Hillary Clinton is exerting a tighter grip on the Democratic nomination. Although this poll didnâ€™t specifically ask about it, it is logical to wonder whether Obamaâ€™s drop in support can be linked to all the criticism he has taken over the past week for his foreign policy statements. The problem for the Democrats is that by nominating Clinton, they assure themselves only of keeping the â€œBlue Statesâ€ and getting 45%-48% support in the general election. Her lack of national popularity and polarizing nature make it very unlikely that she would get 50% or more support in November. With the possible exception of Ohio, I donâ€™t see a single â€œRed Stateâ€ that Hillary will be able to flip into the Democratic column. Barring a total Republican Party meltdown, the 2008 presidential election looks like it could be a replay of both 2000 and 2004.
Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com. Â His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politicsÂ
Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse