A new Gallup poll shows Hillary Clinton has lost most of her once-dominant national lead over Barack Obama, just as the race turns towards a clarifying Super Tuesday primary date. She has tumbled six points in nine days, while Obama has gained eight in the same period. With John Edwards exiting the race, Obama has momentum and seems poised to pick up more steam (via Memeorandum):
Barack Obama has now cut the gap with Hillary Clinton to 6 percentage points among Democrats nationally in the Gallup Poll Daily tracking three-day average, and interviewing conducted Tuesday night shows the gap between the two candidates is within a few points. Obama’s position has been strengthening on a day-by-day basis. As recently as Jan. 18-20, Clinton led Obama by 20 points. Today’s Gallup Poll Daily tracking is based on interviews conducted Jan. 27-29, all after Obama’s overwhelming victory in South Carolina on Saturday. Two out of the three nights interviewing were conducted after the high-visibility endorsement of Obama by Sen. Edward Kennedy and his niece Caroline Kennedy.
Clinton’s lead in the three-day average is now 42% to Obama’s 36%. John Edwards, who dropped out of the race Wednesday after Gallup conducted these interviews, ended his quest for the presidency with 12% support. Wednesday night’s interviewing will reflect the distribution of the vote choice of former Edwards’ supporters as well as the impact, if any, of Hillary Clinton’s popular vote win in Florida on Tuesday.
National polls have come back to the forefront as over 20 states get ready to go to the polls or caucuses on Tuesday. The two face each other for the first time in a head-to-head debate which promises to be a watershed event in their contest. Hillary has to find ways to blunt his momentum and to recover that sense of inevitability, or she could face a very difficult Super Tuesday. If she does not gain an overwhelming majority of delegates, she may find even more Democrats willing to abandon her for Obama, just as Ted Kennedy has already done.
We expected a nail-biter from the GOP. We may get one from the Democrats as well. Can a call to Al Gore be far behind?