Poll Shows Kerry Leading in Missouri and Arizona
Friday, January 30, 2004; 7:14 AM
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Sen. John F. Kerry, on a roll after winning the first two Democratic presidential contests, has opened big leads in Missouri and Arizona and is challenging for the top spot in South Carolina and Oklahoma, according to a Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll released Friday.
Kerry has opened a 34-point lead in Missouri and a 21-point lead in Arizona, and trails John Edwards by 1 point in South Carolina and Wesley Clark by 8 points in Oklahoma in a three-day tracking poll of the four states.
Howard Dean, the one-time front-runner whose high-flying campaign has plummeted dramatically in recent weeks, was in third place in Arizona, Missouri and South Carolina and fourth place in Oklahoma. Arizona was the only state where Dean registered double-digit support, at 12 percent.
Seven states hold primaries or caucuses Tuesday in the race to find a Democratic challenger to President Bush -- Missouri, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, Delaware, New Mexico and North Dakota -- with 269 delegates at stake to this summer's nominating convention. A total of 1,162 delegates are needed to win.
Kerry's big wins in Iowa and New Hampshire gave him a huge boost in states like Arizona, Missouri and South Carolina, where he had campaigned little or not at all for months.
"As of now, he looks like the only candidate who will emerge from all four states with delegates," pollster John Zogby said of Kerry.
All four states still have large pools of undecided voters, ranging from 18 percent in Arizona to 23 percent in Oklahoma.
The biggest prize on Tuesday with 74 delegates at stake is Missouri, where no candidates were competing until native son Rep. Richard Gephardt pulled out of the race last week.
The poll found Kerry at 45 percent in Missouri. Edwards, the senator from North Carolina, was the only other candidate to hit double digits at 11 percent.
Dean, the former Vermont governor, was at 9 percent, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut was at 4 percent, Clark at 3 percent, civil rights activist Al Sharpton at 2 percent and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio at 1 percent.
"If these numbers hold, he could emerge with almost every delegate," Zogby said of Kerry, adding that only Dean and Edwards appeared to be within striking distance of the 15 percent threshold needed to win delegates.
In Arizona, Kerry had a huge 38 percent to 17 percent lead over Clark, the retired general and former NATO commander, with Dean at 12 percent, Edwards and Lieberman 6 percent, Kucinich 2 percent and Sharpton 1 percent.
In South Carolina, the first primary in the South and the first contest where a large number of black voters are expected to participate, Kerry has pulled into a virtual tie with Edwards.
Edwards, who has said he must win in South Carolina to continue his campaign, leads Kerry 25 percent to 24 percent, with Dean at 9 percent, Clark at 8 percent and Lieberman and Sharpton at 5 percent.
Clark was leading Kerry in Oklahoma 27 percent to 19 percent, with Edwards right behind at 17 percent, Dean at 9 percent, Lieberman at 5 percent and Sharpton and Kucinich at 1 percent.
The poll of 600 likely primary voters in each state was taken Tuesday through Thursday and has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points. It will continue through Tuesday, the day of the primaries and caucuses.
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