WASHINGTON – John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman have the most support among Democrats when asked about the field of likely 2004 candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, a poll released Saturday suggests.
But Hillary Rodham Clinton would lead if she were to enter the field.
Among the current field of likely candidates, Democrats put Sens. Kerry of Massachusetts and Lieberman of Connecticut at 16 percent followed by Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri at 10 percent, with others in single digits. Twenty-four percent said they were unsure.
In an expanded field that included Clinton, the New York senator was the choice of 30 percent of registered Democrats in a Time/CNN poll. Clinton aides have said consistently that she does not plan to run in 2004.
Trailing Clinton with 13 percent each were Kerry and Lieberman with others in single digits.
Previous polls of Democrats had put Al Gore, the 2000 Democratic nominee, at the top among potential 2004 candidates. When Clinton was included in those early polls, she was not far behind. Gore announced last weekend he would not run in 2004.
Such early polls are largely a measure of the public's familiarity with potential candidates.
Among the field of likely candidates, Kerry has formed an exploratory committee, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean says he is running and others say they will announce their intentions soon.
In hypothetical matchups against President Bush, Lieberman trailed 54-40 and Kerry was behind 55-40, according to registered voters surveyed.
The telephone survey of 1,006 adults, 18 and older, was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday.