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Obama Ahead In New National Poll, Dems Divided On Delegate Issues

Democrats want to see Barack Obama emerge as their party’s presidential nominee by a 52 percent to 45 percent margin over Hillary Clinton, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted March 14-16. The margin of error is 4.5 percent. CNN Poll Director Keating Holland said: “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. Clinton does best among women, older voters and whites.”

The survey also tested the opinion of Democrats on the thorny issue of what to do about Florida and Michigan who were stripped of their delegates when they violated party rules by advancing the dates of their primaries. Sixty three percent said the states should hold new votes, 19 percent said the delegates chosen in January should be seated and 15 percent said the penalties should stand. Gallup asked a similar question in a poll released last week. In that survey, 25 percent said they would honor the results of the primaries already held, 27 percent favored holding a new caucus or primary, and 23 percent said the two states should get no delegates. Twenty two percent had no opinion.

Florida this afternoon abandoned a proposal put forward by state Democratic Party Chairman Karen L. Thurman to conduct a statewide revote by mail.

If the race comes down to the votes of the superdelegates, CNN said its poll showed Democrats pretty evenly divided with 49 percent saying they should choose who they thought was the best candidate while 46 percent said they should base their votes on the winners of the caucuses and primaries. Both Gallup and Newsweek had polls that also showed sharp divisions with Gallup saying that Democrats thought by a 50 percent to 45 percent majority that superdelegates should back whoever had the most delegates after the primaries and caucuses were over, and Newsweek finding that Democrats believed by 43 percent to 42 percent that the candidate behind in the count should concede.

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