Hillary loses ground to Obama

Senator Hillary Clinton has lost some ground in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, while former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani has widened his lead on the Republican side, a new poll showed Wednesday.

But also showing strength was former vice president Al Gore, who got a boost following his winning an Academy Award Sunday for his documentary on climate change “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Clinton, the former first lady, was favored by 36 percent of Democrats compared to 41 percent in an earlier survey, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Her main rival in the 2008 Democratic race, Senator Barack Obama, enjoyed a surge in support with 24 percent in the latest poll compared to 17 percent in a January 19 survey.

The poll numbers of another Democratic frontrunner, 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards, remained stable at 12 percent, just one point higher than a month ago.

But surging ahead of Edwards on his Oscar win was Gore, who though still denying any intent to contest the 2008 race moved into third place on the Democratic side with 14 percent support, up from 10 percent.

Gore was defeated in the 2000 presidential race by George W. Bush, despite winning the overall popular vote.

On the Republican side, Giuliani, known as “America’s Mayor” for his handling of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York, widened his lead, earning 44 percent of support compared to 34 percent on January 19.

His top rival, Senator John McCain, lost six points going from 27 percent last month to 21 percent in the new poll.

Former legislator Newt Gingrich, who led the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994, gained six points, getting 15 percent of support compared to nine percent a month ago.

The survey was conducted between February 22-25 among 1,082 Americans. It has a plus-minus three percentage-point margin of error.

The first primaries to decide each party’s nominees begin in early 2008.

Clinton’s campaign meanwhile Wednesday celebrated reaching its goal of raising more than one million dollars in campaign funds in a single week in an online campaign.

“It was an incredible success, and it means so much to me knowing that I have so many friends all over the country who are committed to our campaign,” Clinton told supporters in an email.

The drive, launched last week by her husband, former president Bill Clinton, was seen as a bid to counter Obama’s glitzy Hollywood fundraiser which also raised more than a million dollars while sparking a furious spat with the Clinton camp.

Clinton aides bristled at criticism of their candidate by David Geffen, a movie mogul who co-hosted the Obama event, and said the Illinois senator was guilty of the “slash and burn” politics he publicly decries.

The row centered on a New York Times column in which Geffen was quoted as branding Clinton overly ambitious and “polarizing” and criticizing the former president, who he once supported.

Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse