In this week’s Rasmussen Reports national poll of likely Democratic voters, Sen. Hillary Clinton maintains her double digit lead over her top two rivals for the 2008 Democratic nomination. She leads Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards 37%-25%-13%. While dramatic jumps and changes are becoming almost expected each week in the Republican poll, the Democratic race has settled into a consistent pattern of Clinton in the lead and her two biggest challengers unable to make up any serious ground on her. Clinton’s 37% is right about where she has been for most of the last four plus months. Obama has been hovering around 25% for the last 6 weeks, and has not been ahead of Clinton in this poll since April 30. Edwards has consistently struggled and been stuck in the 15%-17% range for the past 6 months.

Clinton is viewed favorably by 80% of Democrats. Edwards is viewed favorably by 73% of Democrats, and Obama’s favorability rating among Democrats is 69%. Once again though, Clinton is no where near as popular nationally as she is with Democrats. Nationally, 29% of voters say that they would vote for her, but 46% say they would not vote for her. Obama has similar numbers as 28% would vote for him, but 40% would not vote for him. Edwards fares the best here, with 28% saying that they would vote for him, while only 32% say that they wouldn’t. Among the second tier candidates, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson are each up to 4% support. Dennis Kucinich attracts 3% support, while Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel get 1% and half a percent each. 13% of those surveyed were undecided.

The interesting thing about each party’s primary race this year is that they are out of character. Normally, it is the Democrats who are engaged in a mad scramble, and some candidate usually comes out of nowhere to take the nomination, while the Republicans go about their business in a very orderly structured way. They normally have frontrunner candidates established very early, and run a primary with minimal opposition. This year it is the complete opposite. The Democratic field looks very structured. The top tier candidates have been there from the beginning, and none of the lower candidates have broken through. The Republican field is so unstable that it looks like Fred Thompson might step off the set of Law & Order and straight into his party’s nomination. This has already been an interesting year and we are still over a half a year away from the first ballots being cast. Politics can be so much fun.

Rasmussen Reports Democratic poll

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 6:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at  blog radio 

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