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Huckabee Surges Ahead In S.C.; Obama-Clinton Now “Toss-Up” in N.H.

Mike Huckabee has come from almost nowhere this summer to take the Republican lead in South Carolina. And in New Hampshire, Barack Obama has come from behind to edge one point ahead of Hillary Clinton.

Mike Huckabee has gone from 3 percent support in the CNN/Opinion Research poll in July to the head of the pack in South Carolina. Huckabee was the choice of 24 percent of South Carolina Republicans in the survey conducted by telephone between Dec. 9 and 12. Fred Thompson was second with 17 percent, Rudy Giuliani, who led in July with 30 percent, dropped to a tie for third with Mitt Romney, both at 16 percent. Romney’s showing was a major improvement of his 6 percent standing in the previous survey. John McCain fell from 21 percent to 13 percent and Ron Paul improved from 2 percent to 11 percent. Sampling error is 4 percent.

On the Democratic side, Clinton leads with 42 percent, Barack Obama second at 34 percent and John Edwards third with 16 percent. The others are in low single digits. Obama moved up 7 points since July, helped by support from black voters. The margin of error is 4.5 percent.

In New Hampshire, a Concord Monitor/Research 2000 poll showed Obama at 32 percent, Clinton at 31 percent, and Edwards at 18 percent with all others in single digits. The pollsters said their survey “suggests that the Democratic race could hinge on the turnout of undeclared voters, who aren’t registered with either political party. Much of Obama’s backing comes from undeclared voters, while registered Democrats make up the bulk of Clinton’s support. In New Hampshire, undeclared voters can vote in either party primary, giving them sway in both contests.”

On the GOP side, the race has remained constant with Mitt Romney holding a double digit lead over all opponents.

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