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State poll: Clinton, Obama lead Dems

MOBILE (AP) — A survey of likely Democratic voters in Alabama found that Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are leading their party's large field of presidential candidates.

In a Press-Register and University of South Alabama poll of 400 people planning to vote in February's Democratic presidential primary, Clinton was favored by 33 percent and Obama by 25 percent.

Former Sen. John Edwards polled 12 percent. Former Vice President Al Gore, who has not announced a candidacy, came in with 8 percent. Sen. Joseph Biden, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Gov. Bill Richardson polled 1 percent each, and Sen. Christopher Dodd had less than 1 percent. There were 19 percent who were undecided and didn't know.

"I'm not surprised by those numbers," said Brad Warren, chairman of the Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee. He said Clinton is the best known candidate and benefits from the popularity of her husband.

The poll was conducted April 16-19 and had a sampling error margin of five percentage points.

In past Democratic presidential primaries in Alabama, black voters have made up nearly half of the turnout. The poll found that among black voters, Obama polled 36 percent to Clinton's 32 percent.

Black support crucial

Natalie Davis, a political scientist at Birmingham-Southern College, said black support will be crucial, as will endorsements from the Alabama Democratic Conference and other black political organizations.

The new poll numbers are similar to one done for the Alabama Education Association in late February. But the poll numbers don't necessarily correspond to the candidates' fundraising ability in Alabama, the Press-Register reported.

Campaign finance reports covering the first quarter of the year show Edwards raised $314,902 in Alabama, which is more than any other presidential candidate. He reported strong support from trial lawyers, as he did in 2004.

Clinton reported $55,500 in campaign contributions from Alabamians, Dodd listed $49,650, Richardson had $15,600, and Obama reported $14,317.

Among Republican candidates, Sen. John McCain listed $81,400 from Alabamians during the first quarter of the year, followed by former Gov. Mitt Romney with $76,700, and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani with $12,975.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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