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Edwards Trails in NY Poll, Campaigns in Buffalo

Associated Press
Democratic Presidential Candidate John Edwards

By Associated Press and WBFO's Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Sen. John Kerry has a huge lead over Sen. John Edwards among New York Democrats with less than two weeks to go before the state's crucial "Super Tuesday" primary, a statewide poll reported Friday.

The poll, from Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion, found Kerry leading Edwards, 66 percent to 14 percent, among likely voters in New York's March 2 Democratic presidential primary.

Still, Edwards was optimistic Friday night about his chances.

"As we get closer and closer to the primary here in New York and other states, this thing's going to tighten up," Edwards said at a campaign stop in Buffalo. "We feel very good about how things are going and don't forget, I was 30 points behind in Wisconsin the day before the primary."

Edwards finished second in Wisconsin this week.

While Edwards has said he expects to do particularly well in upstate New York where manufacturing job losses have been heavy, the Marist poll found Kerry was well ahead -- 70 percent to 14 percent -- in that traditionally more conservative region.

Edwards has made the trade issue a major thrust of his campaign and led a "Rally for Jobs" in at the Polish Cadet's Hall on Grant Street in Buffalo Friday night.

The senator from North Carolina has made much of the fact that Kerry voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement which is highly unpopular in parts of upstate New York. Edwards has said he is opposed to the agreement, although he wasn't in the Senate when it was voted on.

Edwards also challenged Kerry to debate as often as possible before the March 2 showdown. He even suggested that Buffalo native Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," moderate such an event in Buffalo.