A majority of Democratic voters, 56%, now consider Obama the stronger of the two candidates seeking the nomination for the White House. This was revealed by a poll conducted by Knowledge Networks, whose same poll taken last January showed Hillary Clinton ahead 56% to 33%. Now, the situation has been reversed: the Illinois Senator is ahead with 56% (an increase that had been growing progressively since the end of March) while the former First Lady is at 43%.

Obama is also ahead in polls on who, between the two, would be more honest, more likeable, nicer, and more original. But for the supporters of the African-American Senator this research also contains an element of alarm: while a few months ago only 18% of respondents considered him un-sincere, that number has now risen to 27%, a possible consequence of the waves of attacks leveled at him by his rival Hillary and by the Republican candidate John McCain.

And speaking of McCain, the daily polls reported by Rasmussen Reports contain data that gives little comfort to Democrats. The Republican candidate would in fact be ahead of Obama with 48% against 42%, and even ahead of Hillary Clinton with 50% against 41%. 68% of Democrats would vote for Obama, while 23% would go for the Republican McCain, 5% for a third option, with the remaining 4% undecided. Hillary Clinton would be preferred by 71% of Democrats, 21% would go for McCain, 4% for another candidate, while another 4% remain uncertain.

Meanwhile the leader of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean, made an appeal to the superdelegates who haven’t yet expressed who they intend to support: there is no time to lose, we need to choose now who, between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, will face the Republican McCain on election day November 4th.

“They need to say who they support, starting now,” argued Howard Dean in an interview with CNN the day after the TV duel between the Democratic candidates in sight of the important primary in Pennsylvania April 22nd. The televised debate, the 21st in 15 months, the first in weeks, revealed – according to many observers – the fatigue and the vulnerability of the two contenders.

“We need to know who the candidate is, we cannot waste two or three months of campaigning,” added Dean, stressing again to the superdelegates of the party what he had already begged of them only three weeks ago when he asked them to choose their candidate by June 30th. Dean reported that there were around 300 of them still undecided.