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Polls show Clinton's lead slipping among Democrats

Helen Kennedy
New York Daily News

NEW YORK - Sen. Hillary Clinton's formidable lead over rival Sen. Barack Obama is slipping, according to several polls.

Clinton continues to be the favorite by 12 points, but her lead over Obama has been halved since January, mostly due to a huge shift in black voters.

In January she had a 40-point lead over Obama among black voters in the ABC/Washington Post poll, which sparked a wave of "is he black enough?" chatter.

Now Obama leads by 11 points among black voters in the same poll, taking 44 percent to Clinton's 33 percent. A Zogby poll had a similar spread.

Obama, who hopes to the country's first African-American president, said people are just getting to know him and acknowledged that there will be limits to how much of Clinton's black support he can win over.

"I don't expect to get monolithic African-American vote because I think that we have some strong candidates in the field," he told NPR. "It would be presumptuous of me to assume that people would vote for me simply because of my race."

The candidates are heading to Alabama this weekend to make dueling speeches at the annual commemoration of the 1965 Selma civil rights march, a situation that will test their appeal to black voters.

The state is poised to become a primary battleground. About half of Alabama's Democrats are black, and the state plans to vote on or just before the Feb. 5 mega-primary that will likely seal the party's nomination.

Meanwhile, Clinton's camp touted the $1 million she raised in a single week in online donations averaging $66 as a vivid demonstration of her grass-roots appeal.

"It was an incredible success, and it means so much knowing that I have so many friends all over the country who are committed to our campaign," Clinton told supporters.

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