This week’s Rasmussen Reports Democratic primary poll update tells much the same story as many of the others have for the past few months. Sen. Hillary Clinton is continuing to maintain a stranglehold on the position of favorite for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. After spending the last two weeks in the upper thirties, Clinton returned to the 40% level again this week. To put her domination into context, let me remind you that no other candidate in the Democratic group has broken 33%. Since the end of July, Clinton has spent six of the past eight weeks at 40% or above. Her low, 38%, was still higher than any other candidate’s highest level of support. Clinton has continued to incrementally build support all through the summer.

On the other hand, the ailing Obama campaign has continued to incrementally lose ground. Obama has seen his support slip from the low thirties to the mid twenties to where he is now the low twenties. Obama currently finds himself at 21% for the second time in three weeks. Obama hasn’t been at 25% in over a month now, and he hasn’t been over 25% since mid July. Obama has been stiffled by attacks on his experience, mediocre debate performances, and a lack of ideas that differentiate him from the Clinton campaign. The worse news for Obama is that he now finds himself only six points ahead of John Edwards for second place.

Edwards finds himself in third place at 15% this week. Edwards seems to have finally gotten over the 13% hump, as he has been above this number for the past four weeks now. It will be interesting to see if Edwards’s gambit of buying airtime on MSNBC after President Bush’s speech last Thursday helps him gain a bit more support and continue to close the gap on Obama. Edwards is clearly the most liberal and antiwar of the top tier Democratic candidates, but even if Edwards is able to catch Obama, he will see need to make up about 15 more points before he will be even with Clinton. Edwards is a candidate that many Democrats have doubts about, so he will need to win early and often to establish himself.

Bill Richardson, who at one time looked like he could have challenged Edwards for third, is in fourth place at 5%. Dennis Kucinich is fifth at 3%, with Joe Biden right behind him at 2%. Rounding out the field is Chris Dodd at 1%, and Mike Gravel at less than a percent. Thirteen percent of the Democrats surveyed were undecided. As the related Rasmussen article that I have linked here points out, the one issue that could derail Clinton is Iraq.

Her current position on the war is still conservative, and if the Congressional battle over war funding heats up again, and Democratic voters get restless, they may turn their gaze more towards either Obama or Edwards. However, right now Clinton is saying all the right things to appeal to Democrats on the war, and it still looks like she will have to lose in multiple early states for either of her main rivals to become serious threats to her grasp on the nomination. For some reason it seems that many Democrats have determined that Hillary is their choice, and Hillary is going to have to show that she isn’t up to the task for Democrats to start looking elsewhere.

Related Rasmussen Reports article

Rasmussen Reports weekly poll history

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

Jason is also the host of TPU Radio, which can be heard at every Sunday morning at 11 AM ET.

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