New poll give Lieberman the edge in the primary

Thursday, December 4th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A new poll shows a tight race in Oklahoma's presidential primary.

The Oklahoma Opinion Quarterly, commissioned by The Oklahoman, shows 10 percent of voters would choose Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Nine percent would vote for retired Gen. Wesley Clark and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt would get eight percent of the votes.

Five percent of respondents said they would vote for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and 3 percent would vote for North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun each would get 2 percent, while 1 percent said they would vote for Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Moseley Braun was the only candidate who didn't file for a spot on the Oklahoma primary ballot by the time filing closed Wednesday.

``I don't find the results to be at all surprising,'' said Gary Copeland, director of the Carl Albert Center at the University of Oklahoma. ``At this stage in the campaign, a lot of voters haven't tuned in, and no one among the candidates has really stood out.''

The telephone poll, a project of Wilson Research Strategies Inc., randomly selected 300 adults across the state Nov. 18. It had a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points.

Wilson Research Strategies has offices in McLean, Va., Washington and Oklahoma City.

Twenty percent of the respondents said they would not vote in the primary and another 27 percent said they were undecided or did not want to answer the question.

Other candidates received 5 percent of the positive responses.

Democratic hopefuls have made regular visits to Oklahoma since its primary was moved to Feb. 3.

Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, have visited the state frequently in the past few months, as has Edwards.

Ward Curtin, director of Edwards' Oklahoma campaign, said the campaign is ``not at all concerned'' and that the senator has strong grassroots organization in key areas.

Dean supporters said a broad base of support has grown in Oklahoma since he kicked off his campaign in January.

``I think the poll results further illustrate the momentum that Governor Dean has in the state,'' said Chilton Marshall, state director for Dean's campaign.

Clark has visited the state only a couple of times, but his television campaign message began airing Tuesday.