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L.A. Times/Bloomberg Poll posts this evening

February 26, 2008 |  4:30 am

A new L.A. Times/Bloomberg survey of Democratic voters nationwide underscores Barack Obama's spectacular rise from spirited underdog to commanding figure in the party's presidential race.

We won't reveal the precise numbers here; for that, check for the detailed story on our home page about 4 p.m. PST and in Wednesday's print editions. Suffice to say that among a national sample of those who have voted or plan to cast ballots in Democratic nominating contests, Obama has erased the once-daunting lead held by Hillary Clinton and now appears to enjoy a slight advantage over her.

The results roughly parallel the figures of other national polls conducted in February, most of which have found Obama ahead or locked in a virtual tie with Clinton.

The race could still turn again, with both candidates keying on the March 4 primaries in Texas and Ohio (and squaring off tonight on MSNBC in another debate, starting at 6 p.m. PST). But here's a reminder of the ground Obama has made up:

* Just four months ago, a Times/Bloomberg poll found Obama barely holding onto second place against John Edwards, with both far behind Clinton. Her lead in that mid-October nationwide survey: 31 percentage points.

* In mid-January, after the pair had traded wins in the race's initial skirmishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton clung to a nine-point lead in a Times/Bloomberg national poll.

The full results... 

from these polls -- as well as similar surveys that tracked the contest in April, June and December -- can be found here.

The new poll also paired Obama and Clinton against the presumed Republican nominee, John McCain. Again, we're constrained from unveiling the exact numbers. But overall, the results should hearten the GOP. And at the least, they portend a general election campaign that could be as rollicking as the preliminaries.

-- Don Frederick

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