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Dems favor Hillary Clinton for 2008, poll shows

Story Highlights

• NEW: Clinton leads other hopefuls by 15 percent, CNN poll finds
• NEW: Sen. Barack Obama is second, Al Gore and John Edwards tied for third
• If Gore doesn't run as he has pledged, Clinton's lead could grow
• 447 registered Democrats interviewed on the phone in March
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to lead the pack of Democratic presidential hopefuls, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday.

Clinton has a lead of about 15 percent, followed by Sen. Barack Obama in second place and former Vice President Al Gore and John Edwards tied for third.

If Gore sticks to his decision not to run, Clinton's lead would grow even larger, poll results show. (Interactive:View the poll results)

A recent CBS News/New York Times poll showed the public expects a Democratic candidate to win in 2008 by a more than 2-to-1 ratio. Democrats are overwhelmingly confident of victory, with 78 percent predicting their party will win. (Read the complete results document -- PDF)

Republicans don't appear as sure, with 40 percent saying a Democrat will win.

But which Democrat would it be?

In the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 37 percent of registered Democrats said they would vote for Clinton as the Democratic 2008 nominee, while 22 percent named Obama. Fourteen percent went with Gore, and 12 percent backed Edwards.

The poll included 447 registered voters who described themselves as Democrats. The sampling error for questions asked of them was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Gore has apparently gained support since his triumphant appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony -- in a January poll, only 10 percent said they would vote for him.

But he has said he has no plans to run, and with his name out of the mix, Clinton's support jumps to 44 percent -- a gain of 7 percentage points, compared with a gain of only 1 for Obama.

But even with Gore included, Clinton and Obama have gained support since January -- 3 percentage points for her and 4 for him.

But most of the registered Democrats polled -- 52 percent -- admitted they could change their minds before the election.

Still, the poll found Democrats more likely than Republicans to say they are satisfied with their choices for 2008 -- particularly Clinton supporters. Sixty percent said they are committed to their chosen candidate, compared with only 32 percent of Obama supporters. The margin of error for that question was plus or minus 8 percentage points.

Out of the total of 1,027 poll respondents, 58 percent said they have a favorable opinion of former President Bill Clinton. Forty-nine percent have a favorable opinion of his wife. Opinions of Obama are favorable for 44 percent, Edwards for 42 percent and Gore for 50 percent.

And another interesting point: Some voters continue to re-evaluate their opinion of the hotly contested 2000 race, according to poll results. In 2000, 48 percent said President Bush won fair and square. That number has now dropped to 40 percent.

The sampling error for questions asked of all 1,027 respondents was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The telephone poll was conducted March 9-11.



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