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Round-Up Of Pre-Holiday Polls

There’s a new round of pre-holiday polls today and many of the headlines bear out trends that emerged in surveys earlier this week: an extremely close contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Iowa; Clinton regaining some of her footing in New Hampshire but facing another close contest with Obama in South Carolina.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee sits on top of the pack in Iowa but has not had any traction in New Hampshire, where John McCain and Mitt Romney are tied for the lead. In South Carolina, Huckabee is running ahead of Romney by a comfortable but not insurmountable margin.

And there is more evidence in one new national poll that none of the Republican candidates has excited GOP voters enough to pull away from the other contenders. As in some other recent polls, Rudy Giuliani has slid precipitously.

An American Research Group poll of Iowa today has Clinton ahead of Obama 29 percent to 25 percent, in contrast to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday that had Obama ahead 33 percent to 29 percent. But both polls had a 4 point margin of error, making the race a statistical dead-heat.

Polls by ARG and a Washington Post-ABC News on the GOP Race in Iowa both put Huckabee in first, but they differ sharply on who runs second. ARG has McCain in second place at 20 percent with Romney third at 17 percent, while the Post-ABC survey has Huckabee over Romney by 35 percent to 27 percent, with McCain garnering a measly 6 percent.

In New Hampshire, ARG says Clinton leads with 29 percent to Obama’s 25 percent, a difference equal to the poll’s margin of error. John Edwards is third at 18 percent with everyone else in single digits. This week’s CNN/WMUR-TV poll gave Clinton more breathing room, with a 38 percent to 26 percent lead.

In South Carolina, SurveyUSA has Clinton and Obama neck-and-neck, with Clinton at 41 percent and Obama at 39 percent, with a 4.5 percent margin of error. But SurveyUSA says the real story may be that only Edwards is showing momentum, having climbed from 11 percent to 17 percent. Similarly, a CBS News poll had Obama ahead of Clinton 35 percent to 34 percent, and Edwards in third at 13 percent. Huckabee leads the Republicans with Romney in second place, but CBS says more than 70 percent of likely GOP voters say it is too early to definitely settle on a candidate.

There also were these polls from important states that voter later:

– **Florida:** Clinton leads Obama by a large margin, 43 percent to 21 percent with Edwards third at 19 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University survey. While Clinton appears to be running away with Florida on the Democratic side, Giuliani is hanging on to a 28 percent to 21 percent lead over Huckabee. They are followed by Romney at 20 percent and McCain at 13 percent.

– **California:** Giuliani leads with 25 percent in a new Field poll, the same level of support he had in October. But Huckabee has jumped from 4 percent in October to 17 percent. They are followed by Romney at 15 percent and McCain at 12 percent. Field says that in general election match-ups, both Clinton and Obama beat any of the four leading GOP contenders by double-digit margins.

**National Polls and General Election Match-ups**

A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll conducted Dec. 18-19 found a GOP race that it described as “wide open.” In a survey with a 3 point margin of error, Giuliani led with 20 percent, followed by McCain at 19 percent and the surging Huckabee, also with 19 percent. Romney is at 11 percent and Fred Thompson at 10 percent, which the pollsters characterized as “still within striking distance.” A large share of Republican voters – 13 percent – are still undecided. Last February, Giuliani led by 24 points.

A New York Times poll earlier in December also found Republican voters to be “uninspired” by their choices.

The poll’s handicapping of the Democrats had Clinton far in the lead with 49 percent, Obama with 20 percent, and Edwards at 10 percent. All others are in single digits.

In another national poll – the George Washington University Battleground Poll. Among likely Republican voters nationwide, Huckabee leads Giuliani 24 percent to 22 percent, followed by Romney at 16 percent and McCain at 15 percent. Among Democrats, Clinton leads Obama 47 percent to 23 percent with Edwards at 17 percent.

SurveyUSA took snapshots of several states for general election match-ups and turned up some surprising numbers in Virginia which usually goes Republican in picking presidents. Matched against four top Republicans, Clinton and Obama win every time, except for a McCain-Obama match-up which McCain would win.

In other states for which SurveyUSA conducted its automated surveys of registered voters on general election match-ups, there were these results when Obama and Clinton were pitted against Giuliani, Romney, McCain and Huckabee:

New Mexico: Clinton beats all the Republicans except McCain. Obama loses to all the Republicans.

Washington State: Clinton and Obama beat all Republicans.

Oregon: Clinton beats all Republicans except McCain. Obama beats the entire field.

Kansas: Any one of the Republicans beats Clinton or Obama.

Kentucky: Clinton beats everyone but McCain. Any of the Republicans beat Obama.

Alabama: Any of the Republicans beat Clinton and Obama.

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