Clinton Leads '08 Dems; No Bounce for Obama

ByABC News
January 20, 2007, 2:35 PM

Jan. 20, 2007 — -- Hillary Clinton's confirmation of her presidential aspirations comes with a bonus: early frontrunner status in the race for her party's nomination.

Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y., who announced her creation of an exploratory committee today, holds a substantial lead in initial support from Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents -- 41-17 percent over her nearest competitor, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Watch for a full report on the poll Sunday morning.

Obama, for his part, got no bounce by announcing his own interest in the presidency earlier this week; his support is unchanged from an ABC/Post poll last month.

Across the way, among Republicans, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani holds a slight 34-27 percent lead over Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also essentially unchanged from last month. No other Republican exceeds single digits.

Early frontrunner status is where it usually is at this stage of a campaign -- with the best-known candidates. What Clinton, Giuliani (and McCain to an extent) have in common is star power.

While that can be disparaged as mere name recognition, there's something to it: A little-known Republican with a well-known name -- George W. Bush -- took the early lead for his party's nomination in the 2000 race, and rode it to the White House.

Still, it takes substance to sustain a candidate, and early leaders don't always prevail. In the 1992 Democratic race, early favorites were former Democratic New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who ultimately didn't run, and former Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown, who did, but weakly.