WASHINGTON - A new USA Today/Gallup poll out Monday found US Senator Hillary Clinton of New York leads her rival Senator Barack Obama of Illinois by 7 percent nationwide ahead of Tuesday's two key Democratic presidential primaries.
US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) makes a campaign stop at the Merrillville Fire Department Station #2 in Merrillville, Indiana, May 5, 2008. Indiana will hold one of the next Democratic primary elections on May 6. [Agencies]
It's the first time that Clinton led her opponent in three months in the same poll.
Clinton also was seen by poll respondents as the stronger Democratic contender to beat Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, by 5 percent points.
In comparison, Obama led Clinton by 10 points nationwide in the USA Today/Gallup poll just two weeks ago.
Pollsters said the latest results reflected Obama's political wounds caused by the controversy reignited over comments by his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who once blamed the 9/11 attacks on Americans themselves.
The latest USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted May 1-4 among 516 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, with a margin of error of some 5 percentage points.
On Tuesday, voters will go to the polls in Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, where 187 delegates going to the August Democratic national convention are at stake.
It needs at least 20,24 delegates to secure this year's Democratic presidential nomination.
Obama and Clinton now have 1,736 and 1,599 delegates each based on a CNN tally.