Barack Obama has dramatically closed the gap between himself and Hillary Clinton in the recently released Washington Post-ABC national poll.
The first contests of the 2008 presidential campaign have led to a dramatic shake-up in public opinion nationally, with Sen. John McCain now leading the Republican field and Sen. Barack Obama all but erasing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's once-overwhelming advantage among Democrats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
As the campaigns head into the next round of voting this week, the competitive contests in both parties have captured the public's attention. Four in five are closely tuned in, and a third are "very closely" following the races, a sharp increase from a month ago, and well higher than the proportions saying so at this stage in 2000 or 2004.
Clinton had dominated in national polls from the outset, holding a 30-point advantage as recently as a month ago, but the competitiveness of the first two contests appears to have reverberated among Democrats across the country.
In the new poll, 42 percent of likely Democratic voters support Clinton (N.Y.), and 37 percent back Obama (Ill.). Clinton's support is down 11 percentage points from a month ago, with Obama's up 14. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) held third place with 11 percent, followed by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) at 2 percent.
Update: Nevada polls are revealing a very close race, with Obama slightly ahead at the moment.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama took a small lead over rival Hillary Clinton in Nevada ahead of Saturday's caucus, the party's next contest, according to a poll released on Monday.
A Reno Gazette-Journal poll of 500 likely caucus goers found 32 percent favoring Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, 30 percent for Clinton, a senator from New York, and 27 percent for former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
With the poll's margin of error of 4.5 percentage points, it appeared that any of those three leading candidates could have a chance at the top prize in the Saturday caucus.
Nevada holds the third Democratic contest after Iowa, which Obama won, and New Hampshire, where Clinton emerged victorious. Edwards came in second in Iowa and third in New Hampshire.
Campaign officials and observers are unusually cautious about the accuracy of Nevada polls because the state is holding a caucus for the first time, making turnout uncertain.
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