CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The Rasmussen polling organization now takes Al Gore at his word he's not interested in becoming an '08 presidential candidate and is banishing Gore from weekly tracking surveys of the Democratic field.
Before the move, Rasmussen Reports found that Gore was polling nearly as well as former Sen. John Edwards among likely Democratic primary voters nationwide. In head-to-head matchups with Republicans, Gore solidly led Newt Gingrich and ran fairly strong against Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain.
Rasmussen's final numbers this week on the Dems with Gore included: Clinton, 28%; Obama, 24%; Edwards, 11%; Gore, 10%.
Last week: Clinton, 28%; Obama, 23%; Edwards, 13%; Gore, 8%.
The newest data indicates the contest could be turning into a Clinton/Obama showdown. Edwards has lost ground among Democratic voters, a decline that shows up in other polls as well. Did the blogger flap hurt him? Still, Rasumussen said Edwards had the highest favorable rating among likely voters at this time, 53%, while Clinton, Gore and Obama trailed at 50%.
Some think Edwards took a veiled shot at Clinton during an AFSCME-sponsored presidential forum Wednesday in Carson City, Nev., when he apologized for voting in favor of the Iraq War as a senator and implied others should do the same. "This is not a time for political calculation. It is a time for political courage," Edwards said. Sen. Clinton refused to call her initial support of the resolution allowing the use of military force in Iraq a mistake, and said at the forum, "My vote was a sincere vote based on the facts and assurances I had at the time."
Meanwhile, Rasumussen said it made the decision to drop Gore from new polls because the former vice president has repeatedly signaled he won't run. "While Al Gore attracts more support than many who are actively seeking the nomination, the Democrats' Election 2000 nominee indicated again last week that he has no intention of running for office at this time. Therefore, unless something changes, Rasmussen Reports will no longer include the former Vice President in our ongoing tracking of this race."