Clark’s Fast Start
In a new Newsweek poll, the general takes an early lead among Democrats while Bush’s ratings continue to slide
By Laura Fording
NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE
Sept. 20 — Retired Gen. Wesley Clark may have only entered the presidential race on Thursday, but he is already the Democratic frontrunner, according to a new NEWSWEEK poll.
CLARK WON SUPPORT from 14 percent registered Democrats and democratic leaners, outpacing former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (12 percent), Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (12 percent), Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (10 percent) and Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt (8 percent).
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The NEWSWEEK poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, which interviewed 1,001 adults by telephone on September 18 and 19. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Others in the race look especially weak. The Rev. Al Sharpton polls at 7 percent among registered Democrats and leaners, while North Carolina Sen. John Edwards received 6 percent, Florida Sen. Bob Graham 4 percent, and former Illinois Sen. Carol Mosely Braun and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich received only 2 percent each. Nineteen percent of Democrats and democratic leaners are still not sure who they will vote for in the upcoming primary.
When registered voters were asked who they would vote for if a general election if President George W. Bush was pitted against Clark, Kerry or Dean, none of the candidates were able to beat the incumbent, although Clark fared better than the others, polling at 43 percent to Bush’s 47 percent. Kerry was next, polling at 43 percent to Bush’s 48 percent. Dean fared worst, with Bush beating him by a full 14 points (52 percent to 38 percent).
Sounds like Clark's entry went better than many pundits seemed to think.