Obama, Edwards win online straw poll on Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats Barack Obama and John Edwards are the 2008 White House contenders most likely to lead the country out of Iraq, according to an online straw poll of members of the liberal activist group

Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) arrives for an appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman" in New York, April 9, 2007. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Obama, a senator from Illinois, won nearly 28 percent of the 42,882 votes cast by MoveOn’s 3.2 million members. Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, won almost 25 percent.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who leads the field in national opinion polls but has been criticized for refusing to call her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq war a mistake, was fifth with nearly 11 percent.

She finished behind anti-war candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who was third with 17 percent, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was fourth with 12 percent.

The survey, which asked which candidate would be best able to lead the United States out of Iraq, was conducted by the group after a Tuesday night MoveOn forum in which seven Democratic candidates answered questions about the war.

The answers were aired online and broadcast on the liberal talk radio network Air America.

Among those MoveOn members who said they attended one of the nearly 1,000 house parties around the country to listen to the forum, Edwards finished first with nearly 25 percent of the vote and Richardson second with 21 percent.

Obama was third among those who listened to the forum, Kucinich was fourth and Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden fifth. Clinton finished sixth with 7 percent.

Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd finished last in both categories.

Eli Pariser, MoveOn executive director, said the forum and straw poll were ways to get more people involved in the campaign and familiarize the group with the candidates’ views on Iraq.

MoveOn plans two more online presidential forums, one on energy and environmental policies and the other on health care policy, later in the year.