Al Gore has discovered the secret for improving a candidate's standing in the early polling for 2008: Don't be one. The former vice president had the support of 10 percent of Democrats in a national Washington Post/ABC News poll taken in January. Now he's up to 14 percent, and he's still saying that he has no plans to join the race.
As for candidates who are actually in the race? Hillary Clinton has seen her support among Democratic-inclined voters drop from 41 percent to 36 percent, largely, the Post says, because African-Americans are moving in a "dramatic" way toward Barack Obama. In polls taken in December and January, Democratic African-Americans favored Clinton over Obama by a 60-20 margin. Now Obama leads Clinton among African-Americans by a margin of 44-33 percent. That shift has brought Obama's overall support among Democrats up to 24 percent, from 17 percent in January. John Edwards holds steady at 12 percent, up a statistically insignificant percentage point from his January showing.
On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani has blown open his lead over John McCain. "America's Mayor" was up over Arizona's senator by 34-27 percent in January; now he's up 44-21 percent. The Post says movement by evangelical voters explains much of the change, but it seems that the pendulum could swing back -- or in some other direction entirely -- as GOP voters begin to learn more about Giuliani. When the pollsters asked Republicans whether Giuliani's positions on abortion and gay civil unions would affect their views on the candidate, 49 percent responded by saying there was "no chance" that they'd vote for him for the GOP nomination.