This week’s Rasmussen Reports poll update finds that Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has seen her support fall below 40%, but she still remains solidly in front of Obama and Edwards. This week Clinton registered 39% support. This is her lowest number in the past five weeks, and 5 point decline from her high water mark of 44% reached the week of August 6. Clinton’s drop can probably be attributed to recent attacks by Obama and Edwards who have each pointed out that Clinton isn’t electable. The bad news for both of her top two challengers is that while they have softened her numbers a little, they have not been able to substantially gain any more support for their own campaigns.

The really bad news comes for the Barack Obama campaign. Obama now sits at 23% support. This is exactly where he was last week and right in the range of what he has been polling for the last two months. It appears that the label of being inexperienced is limiting Obama’s popularity. Obama has not presented a serious challenge to Clinton since late May/early June. His campaign likes to say that national polls don’t matter, but the news is even worse in polls of the largest states. Obama trails by 20 points in Florida, and 30 points in Pennsylvania just to name two. Democrats like Barack Obama, but there is a strong perception that he isn’t ready to be president yet.

John Edwards gained three points this week to finally break out of his funk and get to 16%. Edwards now trails Obama by seven points for second. Edwards broke a string of nine straight weeks where he was at 13% or 14%. This is also his highest level of support since June. Edwards has been leading the charge to label Clinton as a Washington insider and a friend of the special interests. I think Edwards has hit on a message that really strikes a chord with a lot of Democrats. If he keeps this up, he could challenge Obama for second.

Gov. Bill Richardson moved back into fourth place. He had 5% support. Rep. Dennis Kucinich was fifth at 3%. Sen. Joe Biden slipped to sixth at 2%. Bringing up the rear are Sen. Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel, who each have less than 1%. Twelve percent of Democrats were undecided. The vulnerability of Clinton campaign is her lack of national popularity. If Edwards or Obama can seize on that, and defeat Clinton in the early states, then a challenge could be mounted to her candidacy. Edwards probably has the best chance to carry this banner. I expect Edwards to keep hammering away. Clinton to keep brushing off her critics, and Obama to stay stuck in neutral.

Rasmussen Reports article 

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at


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