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Poll: Clinton leads '08 Democratic pack, Kerry slips

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(CNN) -- Recently re-elected Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York is twice as popular as her nearest Democratic rivals in the 2008 presidential race, according to a new CNN poll.

Clinton was favored by 33 percent of people asked who they were "most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president in the year 2008."

The poll, conducted by telephone Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp., interviewed 530 registered voters who described themselves as Democrats or independents who lean to the Democratic Party. (Read the complete poll results -- PDF)

Clinton was ranked first among 10 potential Democratic candidates. (Poll)

Second place for "likely" support was nearly even among Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois (15 percent), former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina (14 percent) and former Vice President Al Gore (14 percent), given the poll's margin of error or plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee in 2004, lost support, dropping from 12 percent in late October to 7 percent in the latest poll.

Worse news for Kerry: a majority of registered Democrats say they do not want to see Kerry win the party's nomination in 2008.

Earlier this month, Kerry apologized for a "poorly stated joke," which he said was aimed at President Bush but was widely perceived as a slam on U.S. troops.

At a rally for California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides at Pasadena City College, said: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Bush and other Republicans called on Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, to apologize to U.S. troops.

Only 27 percent of registered Democrats say they don't want Clinton as the party's nominee -- just over half the of the 51 percent who said don't want Kerry to get the nomination a second time.

Other potential candidates in single digits include retired Gen. Wesley Clark, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa.

Vilsack, the first Democrat to take the initial legal steps toward a presidential campaign, registered "most likely" support by just 1 percent of those surveyed.

The poll also asked 1,025 Americans about whether they support or oppose the war in Iraq, and found continued overwhelming opposition -- 33 percent in favor and 63 percent opposed.

The most recent poll, conducted November 3-5, found 33 percent in favor and 63 percent opposed.

The poll's sampling error on the war approval rating question is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York celebrates her overwhelming re-election victory with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.



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