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FOX News Poll: Obama Trails Clinton in 2008 Dem Primary

Despite the almost incredible amount of buzz about potential presidential hopeful Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the latest FOX News poll finds that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton soundly outperforms Obama in the Democratic primary and also in hypothetical head-to-head matchups. Even though a lot could change before 2008, so far Republicans have clearly coalesced around former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain as their party’s frontrunners.

President George W. Bush’s job performance rating is unchanged from last month -- currently 38 percent of Americans approve and 54 percent disapprove.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from December 5 to December 6. The poll has a 3-point error margin.

2008 Vote for President

Among Democrats, 33 percent say they would back Clinton if their party’s primary were held today, putting her well ahead of the other hopefuls, including Obama at 12 percent and former Vice President Al Gore at 11 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards receives the support of 8 percent and Mass. Sen. John Kerry 6 percent. All others receive 2 percent or less.

Click here for more results on attitudes toward candidate characteristics, including religion and gender.

When offered just two choices, Democrats choose Clinton over Obama by 52 percent to 30 percent; if the only choices are Clinton and Gore, the former first lady has the edge by 53 percent to 36 percent.

"Sen. Clinton starts as the clear favorite among Democrats," comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "They know her and many of them look back positively on the Clinton Presidency. It is going to be hard to shake those dreams of restoration."

On the Republican primary side, the two frontrunners remain unchanged from previous polling: Giuliani (30 percent) and McCain (23 percent) far outdistance the competition. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (9 percent) and Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney (8 percent) are the only other contenders who register above 3 percent.

Click here for the poll archive

Giuliani (42 percent) tops McCain (40 percent) by just 2 percentage points when Republicans are asked to pick between only those two candidates, and McCain tops Romney by 59 percent to 14 percent.

Hypothetical Horse Races

In head-to-head matchups, Giuliani has a 9-point and McCain an 8-point edge over Clinton. These results are essentially unchanged from previous polling.

When the Democratic candidate is Obama, the Republican advantage increases. Giuliani bests Obama by 11 points and McCain tops him by 19 points.

2008 Vote for President

Clinton 39% vs. Giuliani 48

Clinton 40% vs. McCain 48

Obama 35% vs. Giuliani 46

Obama 30% vs. McCain 49

Finally, even though it is almost two years away, more than one of four voters (29 percent) says they are already "extremely" interested in the 2008 presidential election, including 33 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Democrats.

PDF: Click Here for Complete Poll Results (pdf)