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Poll: Majority of Democrats prefer Obama

  • Story Highlights
  • CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Poll finds enthusiasm for Obama's candidacy
  • 52% of registered Democrats say they'd like to see Obama get the nomination
  • About a quarter of Democrats say they would be dissatisfied if Clinton won
  • Poll also examines superdelegates, Michigan and Florida primaries
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From Paul Steinhauser
CNN Washington Bureau
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(CNN) -- A majority of Democrats would like to see Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton win their party's presidential nomination, according to a national poll out Monday.

A new poll out Monday shows Democrats prefer Sen. Obama over Sen. Clinton to win the nomination.

Fifty-two percent of registered Democrats questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say the senator from Illinois is their choice for president, with 45 percent supporting Clinton.

The poll also suggests Democrats are more enthusiastic about an Obama victory (45 percent) than for a victory by the senator from New York (38 percent).

The two remaining major candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are locked in a fierce battle for their party's presidential nomination, with Obama holding a slight lead both in delegates and the overall popular vote in the primaries and caucuses to date.

"The same patterns that we have been seeing in recent exit polls are holding true for Democrats nationwide as well. Obama's biggest support comes from men, younger voters and independents who lean Democratic," CNN polling director Keating Holland said. "Clinton does best among women, older voters and whites. One interesting difference, unlike the exit polls in many states, there is no difference in the national poll between college-educated Democrats and those who never attended college."

The nomination could hinge on two major matters: superdelegates and the possibility of do-over primaries for Florida and Michigan.

The two states broke national Democratic Party rules by moving up the dates of their primaries to January. None of the major Democratic candidates campaigned in the two states, and Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan.

The national Democratic Party also banned Florida and Michigan's delegates from attending the party's national convention this summer. But with the fight for the nomination nearly deadlocked and the reality that winning both Florida and Michigan is crucial for the Democrats to take back the White House in November, there's now a movement toward letting both states vote again. Video Watch more on the Florida, Michigan primaries »

Sixty-three percent of Democrats said the two states should hold new primaries, with 19 percent saying delegates from Florida and Michigan should be seated at the national convention based on the results of the January primaries, and 15 percent saying no delegates should be seated at all.

If Clinton and Obama finish the primary season with close to an equal number of pledged delegates, then superdelegates could decide which candidate wins the nomination.

There are nearly 800 superdelegates, mostly Democratic members of Congress, top elected state officials and leading members of the Democratic Party. Fifty percent of those polled say that it's a bad idea for the party to have superdelegates, with 42 percent supporting the system.

Since the party is not going to scrap the superdelegates, the big question is how they should base their vote for the nomination.

Democrats appear split on this question -- 49 percent say that superdelegates should base their votes on their view of who would be the best candidate; 46 percent say that superdelegates should base their votes on the results of the primaries and caucuses.

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The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted by telephone March 14-16, with 1, 019 Americans questioned, including 463 registered voters who identify themselves as Democrats or independents who lean Democratic.

The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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