Clinton holds a strong lead over her Democratic rivals in South Carolina, a new poll indicates.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton holds a 14 point lead over her closest rival, Sen. Barack Obama, in the crucial primary state of South Carolina, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out Friday.
The New York Democrat registers 39 percent in the latest poll out of the Palmetto State, followed by Obama, a senator from Illinois, at 25 percent. John Edwards, a former senator from neighboring North Carolina who is a native of the Palmetto State, comes in third with 15 percent. (Read full poll results [PDF])
Former Vice President Al Gore, who has repeatedly said he has no plans to run for president, draws 10 percent in the poll. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden were the only other two candidates to register support in the poll, drawing 2 percent, and 1 percent respectively.
The poll, conducted on July 16-18, interviewed 1,052 adults in South Carolina, including 380 who say they will vote in the 2008 Democratic primary. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
The poll also indicates race plays a large roll in how South Carolina Democrats plan to vote. Among whites, Clinton has a thin 3 point lead over Edwards, 30 percent to 27 percent, with Obama coming in third at 18 percent. Meanwhile, among blacks, Clinton holds a 16 point lead over Obama, 47 percent to 31 percent, with Edwards drawing a paltry 4 percent. This breakdown carries a margin of error of plus or minus 8 percentage points.
Why does Clinton appear to have an edge over Obama among blacks? According to CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, one reason may be the "brand loyalty" many blacks feel toward the name Clinton - most black primary voters in South Carolina say that Clinton understands their problems better than Obama does.
But another may be the “electability” factor, Holland said. Black primary voters by a wide margin think that Clinton has a better chance than Obama of beating the GOP nominee in November. If blacks want a Democrat in the White House and don't think Obama is electable, they may see Clinton as the better choice for blacks regardless of the racial background of the candidates.
All eight Democratic presidential contenders are set to square off in the CNN/You Tube Debate in Charleston South Carolina on Monday.