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Dean Leads Dems in California

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has become the clear front-runner among Democratic presidential contenders in California. A Field Poll of registered Democratic voters released this morning says 23 percent would vote for Dean in the state’s March presidential primary.

That’s up from 14 percent in July. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman followed with 15 percent, and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry placed third with 11 percent.

The rest of the field registered just single digits in the survey, with former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt getting eight percent support; former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun, four percent; civil rights leader Al Sharpton, three percent; and senators John Edwards and Bob Graham and Representative Dennis Kucinich all with one percent.

Some 29 percent of registered Democrats were undecided. The poll also found that each of the top Democrats in the field Dean, Lieberman, Kerry and Gephardt placed even with President Bush in head-to-head match-ups among registered voters.

Bush received between 43 and 45 percent of the vote in each match-up, with each Democrat registering 40 to 45 percent support.