A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean no longer holding a commanding lead among Democrats nationally in the race for his party’s presidential nomination, as Democrats who are registered to vote appear to be taking a second look at retired Gen. Wesley Clark. After leading Clark by 15 and 21 points in two December polls that asked Democrats whom they supported for their party’s nomination, Dean’s advantage has shrunk to just 4 points in the Jan. 2-5 national survey (24% vs. 20%) — within the poll’s margin of error.
This tightening of the race among Democrats nationally mostly results from increased support for Clark, rather than a decline in support for Dean. Clark gained eight points over the last two weeks, while Dean lost three points, and the number of undecided Democrats declined by three points.
Only minor shifts in support were seen for the remaining seven candidates tested. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt are closely bunched, with each receiving between 9% and 11%. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards receives 6%, while former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun garners 3%, and the Rev. Al Sharpton and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich are tied at 2%.