PRINCETON, NJ -- After leading Hillary Clinton for three days by a statistically significant six percentage point margin, Barack Obama now only has a 4-point advantage in national Democratic preferences, 48% to 44%, according to Gallup Poll Daily tracking from May 13-15.
Gallup Poll Daily interviewing on Thursday, May 15 showed Clinton leading Obama by a few percentage points, after several days of Obama in the lead. The resulting slight narrowing of the race -- returning it to a statistical dead heat -- is typical of the way the contest has gone over the past several months, with neither candidate able to maintain a significant lead among national Democratic voters for very long. (To view the complete trend since Jan. 3, 2008, click here.)
Obama's spat with President Bush Thursday about U.S. diplomacy with Iran may have focused voters' attention on Obama's limited foreign policy credentials and could be a factor. However, media coverage of the campaign is conveying a growing sense of inevitability around Obama getting the nomination, and John Edward's endorsement of Obama on Wednesday seemed to prove it. With this kind of momentum in his favor, one might expect Obama to be stretching his lead over Clinton among national Democrats, not still struggling to surpass her.
At the same time, the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking data on the national election, from May 11-15, finds John McCain moving slightly ahead of Obama, 47% to 45% among registered voters, after the two were tied at 45% in Thursday's report. There has been no change in voter preferences in a McCain-Clinton race, with Clinton holding a 3-point advantage, 48% to 45%. -- Lydia Saad
For the Gallup Poll Daily tracking survey, Gallup is interviewing no fewer than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day during 2008.
The Democratic nomination results are based on combined data from May 13-15, 2008. For results based on this sample of 1,232 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
The general election results are based on combined data from May 11-15, 2008. For results based on this sample of 4,366 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
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