In the latest weekly Rasmussen Reports 2008 Democratic Primary poll update released Monday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has started to make up some ground on frontunner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). For the week ending on September 23, Clinton leads Obama by fourteen percent, 39%-25%. While Clinton’s support continues to remain steady at around 40%, Obama experienced a nice little jump of four points from 21% the previous week to 25% last week.

However Obama still has not been above 25% in three months, and Clinton hasn’t been below 35% since June. What is interesting here is that both Clinton and Obama announced major policy proposals last week. Obama gave a speech about restoring fairness to the tax system, and Hillary Clinton unveiled her health care plan. Both issues should play well with Democratic voters, and I wonder if Clinton’s small drop could be attributed to the negative attention that Edwards and Obama helped create around the Clinton campaign’s homeland security fundraiser. Hillary Clinton’s weakness remains her close connections to special interests, and Obama and Edwards have been trying to turn up the heat at every turn.

Speaking of John Edwards, he remains stuck in third place at 14%. Edwards can’t seem to build enough support to get into the 20% range. He has been at 13%-16% since Memorial Day. Edwards has been the most outspoken critic of Clinton’s relationship with the special interests, but so far these attacks have not given him any sustained momentum. The other Democratic candidates in the race are either losing support or staying the same. Bill Richardson and Joe Biden are tied for fourth at 4%. Rep. Dennis Kucinich is fifth at 2%, while Sen. Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel are tied for last with 1%. Only 10% of Democrats are undecided.

I think the biggest problem for Hillary Clinton isn’t any of her Democratic challengers, but that she is Hillary Clinton. Bad publicity over fugitive fundraisers, and special interest lunches could serve to remind Democratic voters of the ugly side of the Clinton years.

Some pundits are referring to Obama as the candidate who is running a campaign about nothing, and Edwards just can’t seem to capture the imaginations of Democrats the way Clinton has. My opinion remains that the only way Clinton will be defeated is if she suffers a decisive defeat or two in the early voting states. If Clinton gets off to a fast start, she could sprint to the nomination.

Rasmussen Reports weekly tracking poll history

Related Rasmussen article

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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