WASHINGTON (CNN) – Hillary Clinton has reclaimed the lead from Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential race for the first time since early February, a new national poll out Thursday suggests.
In the latest Gallup daily tracking poll, Clinton holds a 7 point lead over the Illinois senator, 49 to 42 percent. That lead is outside the poll’s statistical margin of error of 3 points - the widest gap between the two candidates in weeks.
Clinton's last lead was in a Gallup poll taken just after the round Super Tuesday contests, and the two candidates have been statistically tied since. But Obama has held a numerical lead over Clinton for most of that time, and started to decline in the tracking poll late last week - a sign the uproar over his former pastor's sermon's may be taking its toll.
The latest tracking poll was conducted March 14-18, almost entirely before Obama gave a widely praised speech on his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and race relations in America.
But according to Gallup's Jeff Jones, "the initial indications are that the speech has not halted Clinton's gaining momentum as she led by a similar margin in Tuesday night's polling as compared to Monday night's polling."
A new Gallup poll also showed apparent Republican presidential nominee John McCain leading both Democrats, a sign Clinton and Obama's continued back-and-forth is benefiting the Arizona senator. McCain holds a 4 point lead over Obama (47-43 percent) and 3 point lead over Clinton (48-45 percent). That poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney