03/02/2007 12:06 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Fox News Poll Makes It Three

And then there were three. A new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics
survey of 900 registered voters nationwide (2008 presidential match-ups article, results,Bush/Iraq/Iran
article, results)
shows, among other things, the same tightening race for President as two other
recent national surveys. Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (34% to
23%) followed by former Vice President Al Gore (14%) and former Sen. John
Edwards (12%) in a national primary. The Fox survey shows the same narrowing of
the Clinton's
lead as the surveys by Time and ABC News/Washington Post tied to a much closer
contest among African-American voters. The Fox story puts it succinctly:

The nomination race has tightened
among the Democratic contenders. In the last month Clinton has slipped 9 percentage points and
Obama has gained 8 points. The reason for the shift is tied to Obama's
dramatically improved standing among black voters - narrowing Clinton's previous edge of 30 points to 11
points today.

So let's step back and consider what recent national surveys
tell us about candidate preference among African-American Democrats. In
January, surveys showed Clinton
leading Obama among black Democrats by 24 points (CBS News), 30
points (Fox News)
and by 40 points (ABC
News/Washington Post
), combining
December and January samples). In the last two weeks, surveys have shown Obama
either leading among African Americans by 11 points (ABC/Post), by 9 points (Zogby), trailing by 11
points (Fox News), or splitting "about evenly" (Time).

Any one of these sub-samples is relatively small, and thus
subject to more random error than a full survey. The comparisons above are also
not entirely "apples-to-apples," but the results are largely consistent: The
race has between Clinton
and Obama among African-Americans has tightened considerably over the last

Also, as noted yesterday,
both the ABC/News Washington Post and
Time surveys indicate a big jump in
Obama's recognition and favorability over the last month, presumably as a
result of the continuing media focus on the race. I'm speculating, of course,
but the irony may be that the recent spate of "is-he-black-enough"
stories had the effect, not only of further raising Obama's profile, but also clarifying
his heritage (African American, not
Muslim) and thus helping to produce a tighter race among black voters.

**In their original January release
(as cited by my blog
), ABC News reported Clinton leading Obama by 26 points (53% to 27%)
over among African Americans interviewed in December and January. According to
an email I received yesterday from Washington Post polling director Jon Cohen,
"the original ABC numbers were incorrect, they've updated their analysis to the
correct 60-20."