In the latest Rasmussen Reports weekly Democratic poll update, released today, Sen. Hillary Clinton saw her support grow by three more points to 41%. Despite the fact that an earlier Rasmussen poll showed that a majority of Democratic voters (55%) agreed with Sen. Barack Obama’s position on the issue raised during last week’s debate about the use of diplomacy, Sen. Clinton’s lead continued to grow. For the Obama camp, this week marks another frustrating performance in the poll, as their candidate only attracted 24% support, which is his worst showing since February. This also marks the eleventh straight week in which Obama’s support level has been between 24%-27%. Clinton now leads Obama by 17%.

Perennial third place finisher John Edwards has also seen his poll numbers flat line. Once again Edwards received 14% support, and this marks the sixth straight week that his support has been either 13% or 14%. Overall, it has been ten weeks since Edwards reached 18%. The problem for Clinton’s opponents is that no matter what she does, or doesn’t do, she still retains a large base of support in the Democratic Party. Her debate performance doesn’t seem to matter. Her arguments with other candidates get media attention, but don’t make a dent in her poll numbers. 84% of all Democrats have a favorable opinion of Clinton.

More bad news for her opponents comes when the way Clinton is gaining support is examined. She isn’t rocketing up or down each week. Instead, it has been a steady consistent climb. Prior to this week, she spent the previous three weeks at 38%. In the month previous to this, her support was 37%-39%. Before this she spent five weeks at 34%-35%. Clinton hasn’t been at less than 30% since February, and her smallest lead against Obama since June has been 8%. The Rasmussen Reports article related to these results concludes that Hillary Clinton is the Democrats default candidate. It argues that either Obama is going to have to convince voters to vote for him, or Clinton will have to make a major mistake for him to have a chance.

Until lately the Obama campaign seems to have been content to run with Clinton, not against her. In my opinion, the Obama campaign has been deluded by the publicity it gets and the amount of donors it has into thinking that they are on the same footing with Clinton. They aren’t. Everyone knows who Hillary Clinton is. She is most recognized candidate in either party. People who have no interest in politics know her. Most Democrats seem very comfortable with her as the nominee. If Obama wants the nomination, he has to give voters reasons why they should not be comfortable with her. I don’t think his campaign of optimism and hope is going to cut it. Unless Clinton stumbles badly, she could have the Democratic nomination locked up by the end of February.

Poll history

Poll 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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