Washington — The overwhelming majority of Democratic leaders who are automatic delegates to next summer's national convention have no clear idea who they want as the party's 1988 presidential nominee, according to the campaign season's first Associated Press delegate survey. The 278 uncommitted Democratic delegates outnumber those with an early candidate preference by nearly 4-1. The leader among the candidates, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, has only 23 delegates so far.
The AP survey interviewed 354 of the 416 Democratic superdelegates (those not elected by their state) and found that Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt trails Dukakis with 13 convention votes while Illinois Sen. Paul Simon has 12. Sen. Albert Gore Jr. has 10.55, Jesse Jackson 9.8, and Bruce Babbitt four. Superdelegates hold about 15 percent of the delegate vote.
These early commitments largely represent ``favorite son'' support and their significance is overshadowed by the 278 superdelegates who are uncommitted.