Gephardt Closing in on Dean; Kerry Gains Momentum in Latest Polls

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

(1st Add: clarifies Dean's standing in the polls in 2nd paragraph.)

( - Presidential candidate Richard Gephardt is closing in on Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, while Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is gathering steam in the number three spot, the latest poll shows.

Dean nosed up one percentage point to 26, with Gephardt trailing by 3 points. Gephardt has 23 points while Kerry is only 7 points away with 16 percentage points, according to the Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll.

"Dean had another good day. Still basking in the Harkin endorsement. Perhaps it is still too early for Edwards to feel the impact of the Des Moines Register endorsement --although I'm sure that his team wants to forget that the Register endorsed Bill Bradley in 2000. There is a strange magnetic pull that keeps Gephardt around 23 percent," said pollster John Zogby.

"Today I'm watching John Kerry who was feisty on Meet the Press and had a particularly strong day in our polling," said Zogby.

"As of today's rolling average, it is a three way race in the western and eastern parts of the state, among self-identified liberals, among 35-54 year olds, among previous caucus voters, those with a college education, union members, parents of children living at home, those who are afraid of losing a job in the next year, men, and voters in households earning over $50,000," Zogby added.

"Yesterday I watched Edwards shoot up a few points after reports of Dean's negative statements about the Iowa Caucus. But as Dean stabilizes, Edwards' rise seems to have stalled," said Zogby. "But the day belongs to John Kerry."

"It's no surprise judging from the crowds we're seeing on the campaign trail that Kerry's support is rising in the polls," said David DiMartino, press secretary for the Kerry campaign.

"Senator Kerry has been working hard in Iowa, putting out a very positive message for the future of America, and Iowans have been very responsive to that," added DiMartino.

The poll was through telephone interviews of a random sampling of about 500 likely caucus voters in Iowa from Jan. 9 - 11. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

Calls to Gephardt's office were not returned by press time.

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