Rich Galen

Another point in the USA Today/Gallup poll is the man who is in third place: Al Gore. He scored with 17 percent of Dem voters as their first choice, with John Edwards barely scraping above double digits at 11.

Notably, if Gore were not in the race, his votes split pretty evenly between Obama (who goes from 30 to 36) and Clinton (who goes from 29 to 37).

When someone mentions the fact that the Republican world is roiling over the need for another candidate - Fred Thompson - remind them that Al Gore is the favorite of nearly one in five Democrats and Gore continues to deny he is even interested.

Another problem for the inevitability strategy is the head-to-head number between Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani (who leads McCain 32-19 among Republicans). According to this poll Giuliani would beat Clinton 52-45, a seven percentage point lead which is well outside the margin of error.

Watch for the Clinton campaign to amp up its activities - especially its paid advertising. They didn't ever expect Obama to be even with them, much less ahead and they certainly cannot afford to allow Obama to open up any daylight.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.