Washington, Feb 19: Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton's popularity appears to be dropping nationally while her primary rival Bernie Sanders gained a slight lead for the first time, according to a latest national poll.
Sanders, 74, now has support of 47 per cent of Democratic primary voters as against 44 per cent people who back Clinton. A month ago, Clinton, 68, had support of 49 per cent of the Democratic primary voters. And last summer, Clinton had a lead of 46 points and that of 22 points as recently as two months ago.
This is the first time that Sanders is leading a national poll against Clinton, who not long ago was regularly described as the "presumptive" Democratic nominee, according to the poll released by Fox news ahead of the South Carolina primary on February 27. "One thing that is clear from our poll - and others - is that Clinton has been losing support and Sanders has been gaining.
And this process appears to have accelerated since the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire," said Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. "Historically, lesser-known candidates beating establishment candidates in early contests have seen the biggest boost in their national support," said Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who jointly conducted the Fox news poll with Anderson.
Clinton, however, continues to lead in South Carolina where the Democratic primary is scheduled for later this month. But her lead with Sanders has reduced. Likely Democratic primary voters favor Clinton over Sanders by 28 points (56-28 per cent), the poll said. In December, Clinton held a 44-point lead (65-21 per cent).
On the Republican side, front runner Donald Trump leads with 36 per cent support from Republican primary voters. He is followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz with 19 per cent and Florida Senator Marco Rubio 15 per cent.