New N.H. Polls: Obama On The Move, GOP Race Fluid

Posted January 5, 2008 at 5:29pm

A fresh round of New Hampshire polls – all based on different snapshots of time relative to the Iowa caucus outcome – suggest that Barack Obama is picking up momentum in the nation’s first full-fledged primary Tuesday, and that the GOP contest is a fluid two-man race between John McCain and Mitt Romney.

A new Rasmussen Reports poll, conducted on Friday, has Obama opening a 10 point lead over Clinton, 37 percent to 27 percent, with a margin of error of 4.5 percent. John Edwards has 19 percent and Bill Richards is at 8 percent. Obama has a big lead over Clinton among Independents who can vote in either party’s primary. A high number of Obama and Clinton supporters say they have definitely made up their minds – 80 percent in Obama’s case and 73 percent of those who favor Clinton.

On the issues, 76 percent of likely Democratic primary voters list health care as “very important,” followed closely by the economy (73 percent) and ethics (70 percent). Iraq ranked fourth as a top issue (69 percent).

In the GOP race, Rasmussen says McCain leads Romney 31 percent to 26 percent, also with a 4.5 percent margin of error. Ron Paul is polling 14 percent, ahead of Mike Huckabee at 11 percent. Everyone else in single digits. The survey reported that a third of likely Republican voters said they could still change their minds.

American Research Group released a post-Iowa GOP poll, conducted Jan. 4-5, starkly at variance with all the others today, showing McCain with a walloping 39 percent to 25 percent lead over Romney. Huckabee clocked in at 14 percent. Like most of the polls, McCain far outpaces Romney in support among Independents who can vote in the Republican contest if they choose.

Similary, ARG gave Obama the biggest lead of any poll, putting him ahead of Clinton 38 percent to 26 percent with Edwards at 20 percent.

The margin of error for both Republicans and Democrats in the ARG survey is 4 percent.

Two other polls released today used samples that included interviews conducted before the Iowa caucus results were clear.

The Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby daily tracking poll – which has Clinton and McCain narrowly ahead – was based on a sample which included 20 percent of post-Iowa caucus interviews. A 7News/Suffolk University daily tracking poll, which canvassed 50 percent of its respondents after Iowa, had Romney ahead of McCain among Republicans, and Clinton ahead of Obama but losing ground.

In the Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby survey McCain led Romney 32 percent to 30 percent with a 3.3 percent margin of error. Huckabee, never strong in New Hampshire, rose slightly to 12 percent. Rudy Giuliani registered 9 percent followed by Paul at 7 percent and Fred Thompson at 3 percent.

On the Democratic side, Clinton led Obama 32 percent to 28 percent, with Edwards in third at 20 percent. Bill Richardson, who says he’s still in the race, has 7 percent. The margin of error for Democrats was also 3.3 percent.

The 7News/Suffolk University poll differed from the Zogby results in the same way it did on Friday when it put Romney out ahead of McCain. The poll was conducted Jan. 3-4, with a margin of error of 4.38 percent. In an interview, David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said 50 percent of the sample was surveyed Friday after the Iowa results were clearly known, and that only a fraction of the 50 percent sampled on Thursday would have had a clear idea of caucus results.

In contrast to Zogby, this poll shows Romney leading McCain 30 percent to 26 percent, although it should be noted that even in the Zogby poll, McCain dropped two points since its last survey. Huckabee and Giuliani are tied for third at 11 percent, with Paul at 8 percent and Thompson at 2 percent.

In the Democratic race, Clinton leads Obama 36 percent to 29 percent. Paleologos said in the poll’s new release that “coming into New Hampshire, Barack Obama has the cool wind from his Iowa win at his back. He’s climbed four points overnight; Hillary Clinton has dropped one; and O-mentum is in the air.” Edwards has 13 percent and Richardson has 4 percent.