Raleigh, N.C. — Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama has a commanding lead over Hillary Rodham Clinton in North Carolina, but he might face greater difficulties than she against likely Republican nominee John McCain in the general election.
In the latest WRAL News poll, 56 percent of likely Democratic voters said they would give Obama their support in the Democratic primary. Thirty-three percent chose Clinton, and 11 percent were unsure.
A WRAL News poll in early March showed Obama with a seven-point lead.
However, 57 percent thought Clinton would fare better against McCain, while less than a third gave Obama the same credit.
Fifty-six percent of Clinton supporters also said they would not vote for Obama in a head-to-head match with McCain. Clinton would likely draw the votes of 68 percent of those who chose Obama in the primary.
Obama got a favorable rating from 75 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, while Clinton received 66 percent. The change in those ratings from a month earlier were within the poll's margin of error.
In the past month, Obama grew his lead among blacks by 15 percent and shrank Clinton's 20-point lead among whites to 7 percent. Obama garnered the support of 86 percent of blacks, and Clinton had 47 percent of whites in the April 3 poll.
There did not appear to be a gender divide. Clinton and Obama drew support from men and women proportional to their share in the overall poll.
Seventy percent of likely Democratic voters said they thought it was very or somewhat likely the race would remain unsettled until the Democratic convention. Only 28 percent of voters thought Clinton should drop out.
Democratic Voters on the Issues
Survey participants said the economy and Iraq war were the primary issues motivating their election choices.
Fifty-two percent picked the economy as the most important issue, and 21 percent chose the Iraq war. Health care and government corruption were the next most-pressing issues, but they and all other concerns scored in single digits.
Large majorities of both candidates' supporters said the economy was getting worse, but Clinton supporters seemed to be slightly more optimistic about the war on terror and the Iraq war.
Thirty-four percent of Clinton supporters thought the U.S. and its allies were winning the war on terror, compared with 20 percent of Obama supporters. Forty-five percent of likely Clinton voters rated the situation in Iraq as getting better or staying the same, while 28 percent of Obama's voters said it was the same.
Obama supporters were more likely to view American society in a negative light than Clinton supporters when asked if they thought it was fundamentally more fair and decent or unfair and discriminatory.
Fifty-one percent of Obama supporters picked the unfair and discriminatory statement, while 67 percent of Clinton supporters chose to answer fair and decent. Virtually even numbers from either camp were unsure.
Rasmussen Reports conducted the telephone survey of 704 likely Democratic primary voters on April 3. The poll has an 4 percent margin of error.