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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 06:14 PM ET, 09/12/2007

Edwards's Outreach

Former senator John Edwards may be banking on the support of the rural, southern, white and male wings of the Democratic Party, but in none of these demographics does Edwards have an advantage over Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Overall in the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, he trails Clinton by nearly 30 percentage points and Obama by 13, and while these gaps are smaller among the target demographic groups, significant deficits remain.

Edwards does best among whites, garnering 19 percent support and running about even with Obama at 22 percent. But Clinton still dominates among whites, with more than double Edwards's support. Among non-whites, who make up about a third of leaned Democrats, Edwards earns just 4 percent.

Non-urban areas offer a similar favorable tilt for the former North Carolina senator. While his support has stagnated in the single digits in urban areas (currently at 5 percent), people in suburban and rural areas are more supportive. In the new survey, 19 percent of suburbanites and rural-dwellers supported Edwards. However, Clinton and Obama lead Edwards outside of the nation's cities; Clinton clocks in at 37 percent, Obama at 27 percent.

Among men in the South, Edwards's edge comes not from greater support, but from a weaker showing by his main opponents.

In the South, Edwards stands in third place at 15 percent, about even with his national showing. But Clinton and Obama are tied here, both with support from about a third of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. In other parts of the county, Clinton has support from more than four in 10 respondents and enjoys a wide lead over both Obama and Edwards.

Among women, Edwards faces a gaping deficit. He stands at 13 percent, nearly 40 percentage points behind Clinton. Edwards's support among men is about the same, 16 percent, but he trails less dramatically as Clinton has more modest support among men than among women.

The data underscore how far Edwards still has to go to convert the voters he is counting on to fuel his quest for the nomination.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  06:14 PM ET, 09/12/2007

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