Kerry Takes Polling Leads into Tuesday’s Presidential Primary Races

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John Kerry Takes Polling Leads into Tuesday’s Presidential Primary Races

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 2, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Iowa and New Hampshire resurrected the presidential campaign of Massachusetts senator John Kerry and propelled him to the front of the pack. With the first multi-state primary on Tuesday, if current polling data is correct, Kerry could further his grip on the Democratic nomination and potentially drive out all but the best-funded candidates who remain.

Seven states hold their primaries on Tuesday, with Arizona, Missouri and South Carolina the top targets for the leading candidates.

Kerry has extended his lead in Arizona where a poll by the Arizona Republic newspaper now shows Kerry winning 32 percent of the vote, up three points from the day before. Wesley Clark was running second with 19 percent, one point below the previous day’s poll, while Howard Dean ran third with 12 percent.

In one of the few states in which Kerry, who backs abortion, does not have a lead is South Carolina. Here, neighboring pro-abortion Sen. John Edwards, is tied with Kerry and banking on a victory to establish himself as the top Kerry alternative.

Edwards has the backing of 25 percent and Kerry has 24 percent in South Carolina. Activist Al Sharpton is running third, his candidacy popular with black Americans, while other candidates were in single digits.

Oklahoma is the only other state where Kerry doesn’t have a clear lead. There, Clark, a pro-abortion former general, leads with 27 percent. Kerry is in second with 19 percent and Edwards has 17 percent, according to a Zogby poll. However, a poll for the Oklahoman newspaper found Kerry on top with 20 percent followed by Clark at 18 percent and Edwards at 13 percent.

Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman is quickly finding himself at the bottom of the polls and his fundraising is beginning to dry up. Lieberman hopes a win in Delaware will help him regain his edge, though it is unlikely that will happen. He could lose the state to Kerry, who is leading in the polls there.

Kerry holds a commanding lead in Missouri over Edwards, 50 percent to 15 percent. Dean is running third there with 9 percent, a Zogby poll shows. Polls in New Mexico and North Dakota show Kerry leading in those states as well.

In New Mexico, a new Albuquerque Journal poll showed Kerry ahead with 31 percent support, but with 27 percent of likely voters undecided.

Howard Dean, an early front-runner, conceded he may not win any of the states on Tuesday night, and was focusing on Washington, Wisconsin, and Michigan, some of the big targets in the next set of primaries.

Dean said he wasn’t ready to leave the race and was focused on winning delegates. He did tell MSNBC he had no plans to linger on if it became clear the nomination was out of reach.

A total of 269 pledged delegates are at stake in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Carolina, the states holding elections Tuesday.