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Democrats Ahead in the Race to be Recognized

The Democratic presidential candidates are winning the visibility primary.

In a poll released today by the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of those surveyed could name a Democratic contender without any prompting, while 59 percent could conjure up a White House wannabe from the GOP side.

Overall, 78 percent volunteered Hillary Clinton's name, and 45 percent came up with Rudy Giuliani.

Even among Republicans, the opposing team seems to be better known. Asked to identify any Democratic candidate, 79 percent named Clinton and 60 percent Barack Obama. When asked to name a GOP candidate, 57 percent said Giuliani--and no other Republican contender cracked the 50 percent barrier. Pew analysts attribute the discrepancy to "disengagement, if not disillusionment" among Republican voters.

Despite an avalanche of media coverage, public interest in the 2008 campaign is only slightly higher than at a similar point in the 2000 cycle, the last time both parties' nominations were up for grabs. Fifty-two percent of those questioned say they are following the campaign very or fairly closely, compared to 49 percent eight years ago.

Here, too, a partisan split is apparent: Since the beginning of September, 62 percent of Democrats are following the campaign very or fairly closely, compared to 52 percent of Republicans.

--Howard Kurtz

By Washington Post editors  |  October 23, 2007; 3:54 PM ET
 
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