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Clinton moves up in polls and money

She widened her lead among Democrats in polls and led in fundraising for the quarter.

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No doubt about it, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York had a great third quarter of 2007.

For the first time, she beat her closest rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, in quarterly fundraising totals, bringing in $22 million in primary cash, versus Senator Obama's $19 million. Senator Clinton also brought in $5 million for use in the general election, if she's the nominee, while Obama brought in $1 million.

At the same time, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows, for the first time, more than half – 53 percent – of Democratic voters want Clinton to be their nominee, versus 20 percent for Obama. Clinton's average lead among Democrats in national polls stands at 20.3 percentage points, according to Realclearpolitics.com. Clearly, the former first lady has momentum.

But the Democratic nomination race is far from over. Since the beginning of the year, Obama has raised more money than Clinton – $75 million for the primaries, versus $63 million for Clinton.

Moreover, polls of likely caucusgoers in Iowa, home of the nation's first nominating contest, show the top three Democratic contenders – Obama, Clinton, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina – are neck and neck. A Newsweek poll this week showed them at 28, 24, and 22 percent, respectively.

"She's performed well on the campaign trail and has established her lead in the polls, and thus is attracting momentum money as well – the kind of money that wants to be behind the frontrunner," says Anthony Corrado, a political scientist at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. "But it's not to say she's going to win the nomination."

A cadre of undecided voters

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