Democratic voters in Arizona still prefer Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for the 2008 presidential nomination, but the contest is tightening, according the latest Rocky Mountain Poll, which was released today.
The former first lady led Obama by seven percentage points, according to the poll that was conducted from March 10 through Wednesday. She paced Obama by twice that much, 14 percent, in a similar poll in January.
Overall, Clinton topped the March poll with 27 percent support among a field of seven possible candidates.
She was followed by Obama at 20 percent and former Vice President Al Gore with 10 percent.
Three other possible contenders for the nomination – Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richards and Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware – all finished in the single-digit range. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts received no support.
“The early battle seems to be narrowing down to Clinton and Obama, because as the gap between them closes, the base of voters for John Kerry, Al Gore and John Kerry shows no signs of improving,” said Earl de Berge, research director for Behavior Research Center, which conducted the poll.
Obama campaigned in Tempe in support of Rep. Harry Mitchell and former Senate candidate Jim Pederson in the fall, but none of the major Democratic candidates have appeared in the state during the current election cycle.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of Democrat voters are undecided about their choices for 2008. In the March poll, 23 percent said they were still on the sidelines, while in the January poll, only 12 percent said they were undecided.
The latest statewide survey of 214 Democrat voters had a margin of error of 6.3 percentage points.