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Giuliani, Clinton Maintain Their National Leads

Read Gallup Polls on Republicans and Democrats

After a recent surge in national Republican support for Mike Huckabee for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, springing him from a distant fifth place in early November into a tie for second at the end of the month, a new USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Dec. 14-16, finds that Huckabee’s rapid rise has leveled off. And a survey of Demnocrats during the same period showed that Hillary Clinton still has a substantial national lead over her rivals despite her struggles in polls of early voting states.

The latest GOP poll results are nearly identical to what they were in Gallup’s late November/early December survey. Giuliani has the support of 27 percent of Republicans, followed by Huckabee at 16 percent with John McCain, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney tied at 14 percent. All others are in low single digits.

Gallup credited Huckabee’s surge in early state polls for giving him valuable media attention and contributing to his rise in the national standings. As the Project For Excellence in Journalism noted in its weekly index of news coverage, “…even with ‘the Oprah effect’ generating major coverage last week, no narrative seemed more compelling than the improbable rise of Huckabee. (Newsweek’s Dec. 17 cover headline, “Holy Huckabee!” was a double entendre, referring both to the candidate’s overt religiosity and the stunning success, at least to this point, of his long shot campaign.)”

Clinton enjoys the support of 45 percent of Democrats compared to 27 percent for Barack Obama, and 15 percent for John Edwards. All others are way behind in low single digits. Both Clinton and Obama increased their support in comparison to previous Gallup polls. If the race for the Democratic nomination narrows down to just Clinton and Obama, 55 percent of Democrats say they would prefer Clinton, while 38 percent would prefer Obama.

The margin of error in both Democratic and Republican polls is 5 percent.

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