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CNN Poll: Obama catches Clinton in New Hampshire

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« on: December 12, 2007, 10:57:09 am »

CNN Poll: Obama catches Clinton in New Hampshire

Story Highlights
A month before New Hampshire primary, Obama, Clinton tie in new poll

Poll: Clinton's support among Democratic women slips in New Hampshire

43 percent of state Dems, 55 percent of GOP voters still undecided, poll says

Poll: Romney leads Huckabee in New Hampshire by 23 percentage points

By Mark Preston
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Barack Obama has chipped away at Hillary Clinton's lead in New Hampshire locking the Democrats in a statistical tie a month before the first presidential primary, according to a CNN/WMUR Poll released Wednesday.

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attend a November 15 debate in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 Clinton has dropped 5 percentage points since a previous CNN/WMUR survey in November, while Obama has gained 8 percentage points, according to the poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Clinton is now at 31 percent to Obama's 30 percent. New Hampshire's primary is set for January 8.

Clinton's 5-percentage point drop appears to have been largely due to the loss of support among women.

"Clinton's support among Democratic women in New Hampshire has dropped from 43 percent to 33 percent," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "By contrast, her support among men dropped only 1 point to 27 percent in that same time period." Chart: Track support for Clinton and Obama since June

Clinton is still viewed by Democratic primary voters as having the most experience and the best chance of beating the Republican presidential nominee. But Obama is seen as more likable, more believable and more likely to unite the country.  Watch how polls could affect Clinton's campaign

Among Republicans, the poll reveals that despite Mike Huckabee's meteoric rise in some Iowa and national surveys, the former Arkansas governor has yet to catch fire in New Hampshire. Huckabee remains in single digits at 9 percent, up 4 percentage points from November. But he still trails ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 23 percentage points.

Romney remains in the lead in New Hampshire with 32 percent, according to the poll, followed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona who are tied with 19 percent.

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Despite Romney's double-digit edge over his nearest competitors, and the seemingly two-way Democratic battle between Clinton and Obama, Holland said Granite State victories are still up for grabs.

"This race is not over by a long shot," said Holland. "Forty-three percent of Democratic primary voters, and a whopping 55 percent of GOP voters, say they are still trying to make up their minds."

That's good news for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who trails Democratic front-runners by 14 percentage points, and Giuliani and McCain, who both hope to derail Romney with a win in New Hampshire.

Still, the poll is welcome news for Romney, who has watched his numbers drop in Iowa as Huckabee has moved into first place in recent Hawkeye State polls.

This survey could indicate that for now, Romney has successfully erected a firewall in New Hampshire built largely by early organizing and public support from prominent Republicans in the state, such as Sen. Judd Gregg.

Amid a week of good poll news for Huckabee, this survey will be disappointing as it shows his brand of social conservatism does not appear to be catching on with the traditionally fiscal conservative New Hampshire Republicans. The Republicans surveyed in this poll ranked Huckabee fourth (10 percent) behind Romney (32 percent), McCain (21 percent) and Giuliani (13 percent) when asked which of the GOP presidential hopefuls represented their values.

The poll also had bad news for former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who garnered a tiny 1 percent among New Hampshire Republicans who responded to the poll.

A Thompson spokesman told CNN on Tuesday that a strategic decision had been made to focus all of the campaign's attention on Iowa until the January 3 caucuses.

The poll of 354 likely Republican primary voters, and 378 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted from December 6 through December 10. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. E-mail to a friend
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