Dennis Kucinich goes into tonight's Democratic Presidential debate riding a wave of positive polling results that put him in fourth place nationally, second in a major California straw poll, and leading among declared Democrats in an online survey sponsored by Democracy for America.
His strongest showing to date is in the ongoing DFA Pulse Poll, which
has drawn more than 100,000 respondents in the past week. Among declared Democratic candidates, Kucinich is leading with more than 24% of the vote as of noon today. Senator Barack Obama is second with about 18%, and former Senator John Edwards is currently in third place with about 15%.
In New Hampshire, site of the nation's first Presidential primary, Kucinich is tied for fourth place with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson with 7%, only seven points behind Edwards, according to last week's Rasmussen Report. Also, the Survey Center (http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/) at the University of New Hampshire (http://www.unh.edu/) just released polling data showing Kucinich and Sen. Hillary Clinton gaining momentum, while support for the other Democratic candidates appears to have peaked and may be in decline in New Hampshire
Last week, in the largest Democratic straw poll in California, Kucinich
finished a strong second to Edwards. Official results from the San Mateo County Democratic Party showed that Edwards received 29% of the total votes cast, Kucinich received just under 24%, and Obama and Clinton came in third and fourth, with 22.5% and 16.8% respectively. The other Democratic candidates were all in low single digits.
In a Zogby America poll earlier this month, Kucinich was fourth, six points behind Edwards, and ahead of Richardson and Sen. Joe Biden. The Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll last month also had Kucinich tied with Richardson, and ahead of Biden and Sen. Chris Dodd.
Kucinich's success is even more striking when viewed on the context of campaign war chests. He has raised about $2.1million this year. Edwards has raised more than $30 million, Richardson $18.7 million, Dodd $13.6 million, and Biden $8.2 million.