WASHINGTON Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over fellow Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination, a new poll showed on Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also showed that if the elections were held today, either of those Democrats would beat former New York Major Rudy Giuliani, the current Republican favorite.
Forty-three percent of Democratic respondents said they preferred the New York senator and former first lady over other Democratic candidates in the 2008 contest, up from 39 percent in June, the poll showed.
That put Clinton even farther ahead of chief rival Obama, the Illinois senator who slipped from 25 percent in the June poll to 22 percent in July. Clinton and Obama have sparred in recent weeks, trading accusations last week over foreign policy positions.
The poll surveyed 1,005 adults from Friday to Sunday and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
Those polled cited Clinton's experience and competence highest among her positive attributes.
Support was seen slipping for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, from 15 percent of respondents in June to 13 percent this month. U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson were far behind the front-runners, but both showed a slim gain in support.