CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Stripper, celebrity and former Playboy Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole Smith is dead, but fame is following her to the grave. She has higher name recognition with the American public than most of the Democrats and Republicans running for president. Rasmussen Reports said 89% of Americans had heard of her before she died, and that 85% think the media has paid way too much attention to her untimely demise.
Rasmussen polled 1,000 adults by telephone Feb. 23-24 and said the centerfold sexpot who married an 89-year-old billionaire was not popular with the public. Still, nine of every 10 Americans knew who the 39-year-old celebrity was.
"That's an amazingly high level of name recognition, higher than just about all the Republican and Democratic candidates running for president," Rasmussen said. The poll is HERE. A January survey found the public did not like the antics of Hollywood celebs such as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Rasmussen put Anna Nicole in the same class.
Perhaps graciously, the polling firm didn't say which presidential candidates trailed Anna Nicole.
Meanwhile, the pollster said Sen. Hillary Clinton increased her lead over Sen. Barack Obama after Al Gore was dropped from the weekly tracking survey. Rasmussen said 568 likely Democratic primary voters were phoned, and 37% picked Clinton, a 9% jump. Obama was at 28%, a 4 point increase and former Sen. John Edwards rose to 13%, a 2% lift.
Clinton's 37% was the highest percentage she has reached since Jan. 27 in a Rasmussen tracking poll. And with Gore out, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson moved into 4th place, the spot that the former vice president held. Richardson had 4% of the Democrats.