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Clark remains ahead in latest poll

Polling preceded Thursday night's debate

Democratic nomination rivals Carol Moseley Braun and Wesley Clark participated in the CNN/Arizona Democratic Party debate, which was held Thursday evening, after polling had indicated a lead for Clark among those surveyed.
Democratic nomination rivals Carol Moseley Braun and Wesley Clark participated in the CNN/Arizona Democratic Party debate, which was held Thursday evening, after polling had indicated a lead for Clark among those surveyed.

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CNN's Dan Lothian on how Wesley Clark's Democratic presidential nomination rivals ratcheted up their criticism of the retired general Thursday evening in a CNN/Arizona Democratic Party debate.
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(CNN) -- There was little change in how Democratic voters view the nine candidates for the party's 2004 presidential nomination, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Thursday before that evening's debate.

In that session, sponsored by CNN and the Arizona Democratic Party, Clark's rivals ratcheted up their criticism of the retired general. (Full story)

Going into the debate, retired Gen. Wesley Clark led all the Democrats, with 21 percent of respondents saying they would most likely support Clark in 2004, down one point from the most recent poll.

The poll, based on telephone interviews conducted between Monday and Wednesday, asked 400 Democrat or Democratic-leaning registered voters which candidate they would most likely support for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus-or-minus 5 percentage points.

Clark was followed by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean with 16 percent, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman had 13 percent, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry with 13 percent and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt with 8 percent.

The field was rounded out with activist Al Sharpton at 6 percent, former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun with 4 percent, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards with 2 percent and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich with 2 percent.

Fifteen percent of the respondents said they had no opinion or favored other non-candidates, which included Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who dropped out the race Monday.

The results differed very little from the most recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted on September 19-21.

That poll had Clark at 22 percent followed by Dean with 13 percent, 11 percent for both Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt and Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman had 10 percent backing.

That poll of Democratic voters also had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 5 percentage points.


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