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Obama Building Large Lead In N.H., GOP Contest Is Closer

Another day, another round of polls in New Hampshire, this time indicating with more clarity that Barack Obama is opening a wide lead over Hillary Clinton while John McCain is maintaining a modest lead over Mitt Romney. John Edwards remains third in all the polls, while Mike Huckabee, to no one’s surprise, runs down towards the 10 percent range.

The Gallup Poll weighed in this morning with news that Obama now enjoys a 41 percent to 28 percent lead over Hillary Clinton with whom he was in a tie in its mid-December survey. Edwards is at 19 percent. Obama is doing particularly well among Independents, who can vote in either party’s primary, and according to another poll – by Rasmussen Reports – that is causing some problems for McCain because he not only is competing against Romney for Republican votes, but against Obama for Independent votes.

Gallup says” the largest shift came in Democratic voters’ views of the candidate who `has the best chance of beating the Republican in November.’ Obama jumped by 19 points on this dimension between the two polls, while Clinton fell by 13 points.”

McCain leads Romney 34 percent to 30 percent, a reversal from mid-december when Romney had a 34 percent to 27 percent advantage. Like Obama, McCain has benefited by an increased perception that he is the GOP candidate with the best chance of winning the general election.

The margin of error in the Gallup surveys is 4 percent.

In other polls:

A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics gives Obama a smaller leader over Clinton than most of the other polls, at 32 percent to 28 percent, with a margin of error of 4 percent. But that’s a 7 point rise for Obama since their December poll and a 6 point dropoff for Clinton. Edwards has 18 percent. About the same percentage of Clinton and Obama supporters (roughly three-quarters) say they are certain of their choices. Among the Republicans, McCain leads Romney 34 percent to 27 percent, a 14 point gain for McCain since last month. Seventy-two percent of those who support McCain and Romney say their minds are made up. The economy and Iraq top the issues of concerns to voters of both parties, but there are sharp differences on health care (22 percent of Democrats rank it high versus 7 percent of Republicans) and immigration (16 percent of Republicans say it is important, while only 6 percent of Democrats cite it).

– The Rasmussen poll says that Obama is poised to win a “sizable victory” in New Hampshire while the McCain-Romney contest is too close to call.

A new Zogby poll has Obama ahead of Clinton 39 percent to 29 percent with Edwards at 19 percent. McCain leads Romney 34 percent to 29 percent. The margin of error is 3.4 percent.

The Marist Poll shows the Obama lead over Clinton at 36 percent to 28 percent with Edwards at 22 percent. Marist says (surprise!) “The number one quality Democratic primary voters are looking for in a presidential candidate continues to be someone who can bring about change.” The poll names economy as the number one issue among Democrats. In the GOP race, McCain leads Romney 35 percent to 31 percent. The economy, security from terrorism, and illegal immigration top the list of concerns on the minds of likely New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary voters, Marist says.

The 7News/Suffolk University poll, like Fox, has the Obama and Clinton race close, with Obama at 35 percent, Clinton at 34 percent and Edwards at 14 percent. This poll had Romney ahead of McCain on the GOP side, 30 percent to 27 percent. Margin of error is 4.38 percent.

American Research Group has Obama ahead of Clinton 39 percent to 28 percent with Edwards at 22 percent. McCain leads Romney 35 percent to 27 percent. The margin of error is 4 percent.

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