Senator Hillary Clinton and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are top runners among Democrats and Republicans respectively for the 2008 American presidential elections, a new poll has said.
According to a new Harris poll, Senator Clinton is the clear front runner for the presidency as among all adults, 45 per cent Americans said they will consider voting for her compared to 37 per cent for Barack Obama and 29 per cent for Giuliani.
But Clinton, whose chances analysts say could be marred by her stand in Iraq war, has a solid support with 74 per cent Democrats saying that they could consider voting for her and 36 per cent picking her as their candidate.
Overall, only 20 per cent of respondents favoured her as their first choice with the poll showing that she is not popular among Republicans with only four per cent preferring her as their first choice. But she did better among Independents.
The 45 per cent who say they would consider voting for her if she gets party nomination include 10 per cent Republicans, 40 per cent independents and 74 per cent Democrats.
But she had reason to be worried with Barack Obama, a Democrat trying to become first black president, making strong gains to move to second place with 53 per cent of Democrats saying they will consider voting for him and 18 per cent considering him as their first choice.
Overall, 37 per cent say they will consider voting for him including 15 per cent Republicans, 35 per cent Republicans and 53 per cent supporters of his party.
Obama, who is strong critic of the Iraq war becoming increasingly unpopular among American voters, is exploiting his strong stand fully while Clinton tries to explain why she voted in Senate for the resolution authorising war. Obama was not a Senator then.
Though 34 per cent say that Clinton will be their first pick against 18 per cent who favour Obama, analysts say he is making gains and things could change as primaries are still months away.
John Edwards is preferred first choice of only nine per cent Democrats though 44 per cent say they will consider voting for him if he wins the party nomination. Interestingly, Democrats have not forgotten former Vice President Al Gore who lost to Republican George Bush with seven per cent saying they will consider him as their first choice even though he is unlikely to run.
Among Republicans former New York Mayor Giuliani, who had won kudos for his handling of the situation after 9/11 attacks and putting the New York city back on rails, is considered by 21 per cent Republican as their first choice with 58 per cent saying they would consider voting for him.
Overall 29 per cent say they will consider voting for him, including 58 per cent Republicans, 12 per cent Democrats and 27 per cent independents.
Next on the Republican list is John McCain with 15 per cent preferring him as their first choice and 46 saying they will consider voting for him. Following him is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with six per cent of her party supporters considering her their first choice.
Although there are no suggestions that he will be a candidate, former Secretary of State Colin Powell is still a popular figure who enjoys substantial support, not just from Republicans but Independents.