Obama gains on Clinton in US presidential race
US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's popularity has grown among likely voters, according to a poll released Monday which suggested he was gaining on rival frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
The poll by the Rasmussen Institute predicted Obama would get 32 percent of the vote in February's primary, compared to 30 percent for Clinton, who until now has been the consistent favorite for the Democratic party.
While the report noted that it marked the first time a candidate other than Clinton came out on top, it nevertheless pointed out that Obama's percentage gain was "statistically insignificant."
In addition, the results were culled through a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey that was conducted April 23-26, with most answers given in advance of the first Democratic debate which was held Thursday, April 26.
Another poll next week would gauge the candidates' performance in the debate, the report said.
However, the survey has shown a steady decline in Clinton's support base. The same poll in March showed the New York senator and wife of former US president Bill Clinton had a 12 percent advantage over Obama.
Differences were also emerging in the demographics of the two candidates' support bases.
Obama, 45, the mixed-race Illinois senator who was born to a white American mother and a Kenyan father, leads among voters under 40, it said.
Clinton, 59, is strongest in the 65-and-older bracket.
Clinton has a two-point edge among Democrats. Obama has a nineteen-point lead among independents likely to vote in the Democratic primary, which is eight months away.
Clinton piled up 26 million dollars in campaign contributions according to campaign finance disclosures released earlier this month, while Obama came in a close second with 25 million dollars.
The nearest contender to Obama and Clinton was former senator John Edwards with 17 percent of the likely vote in the primary, which determines the Democratic candidate in the US presidential election scheduled for November 2008.
None of the other eight main Democratic contenders garnered more than three percent.