Two days before voters go to the polls in the New Hampshire Primaries, Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are in a statistical tie, according to a 7NEWS/Suffolk University tracking poll released this morning. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney and John McCain are deadlocked in the Republican Primary.
In the Democratic Primary, Clinton (35 percent) leads Obama (33 percent), John Edwards (14 percent), Bill Richardson (5 percent), Dennis Kucinich (1 percent) and Mike Gravel (1 percent). Eleven percent were undecided.
Steady gain for Obama
“Barack Obama has cut a seventeen-point deficit to just two points today,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “He’s done this in four days with no sign of a slowing trend.”
Edwards remains viable at 14 percent, which is helping Clinton maintain a slight edge. However, if in the last 48 hours Edwards voters choose one of the top two candidates, survey research suggests that Edwards’ demographics already are predisposed to rotating to Obama.
Also, among likely voters ages 18-35, Obama extended his lead over Clinton to a whopping 51-percent-to-26-percent margin, compared to the previous tracking, where he led Clinton 44 percent-to-31 percent.
Ron Paul passes Huckabee
In the Republican Primary, the 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll shows Romney (30 percent) leading McCain (27 percent), followed by Rudy Giuliani (10 percent), Ron Paul (9 percent), Mike Huckabee (7 percent), Fred Thompson (2 percent) and Duncan Hunter (1 percent). Twelve percent were undecided. Paul is now polling ahead of Iowa Caucus winner Huckabee.
“Ron Paul could be to Mitt Romney what Ralph Nader was to Al Gore – a spoiler. He seems to be the repository of the disaffected, anti-establishment, libertarian-leaning conservative wing of the Republican Party,” said Paleologos.
Paul’s 16 percent showing among voters ages 18-35 is taking votes away from Romney, who leads McCain (29 percent-to-21 percent) in that category.
Romney continued to lead McCain in both Massachusetts bordering counties: Hillsborough (38 percent-to-23 percent) and Rockingham (35 percent-to-22 percent). These two counties account for more than half of the expected likely votes cast in the Republican Primary. McCain led Romney in the remaining eight smaller counties.
The poll released today is the sixth in a series of daily tracking polls conducted by 7NEWS/Suffolk University leading up to the Jan. 8 Primary. Each poll consists of 250 likely voters statewide each day from the Democratic and Republican Primaries. A two-day rolling average of 500 Democrats and 500 Republicans is reported every morning at 9 a.m. on “7NEWS Today in New England.”
Suffolk University Adjunct Professor David Paleologos is available all week in Manchester, N.H., to comment on the latest trends and demographics and to offer political analysis. He may be reached at 781-290-9310 or 646-228-4448.
The 7NEWS-Suffolk University tracking poll was conducted Jan. 4 and Jan. 5. The margin of error for each party subsample of 500 respondents is +/- 4.38 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. The 1,000-respondent margin of error is +/- 3.10 percent. All respondents were likely voters for the respective New Hampshire presidential primaries on Jan. 8, 2008. Charts, marginals and 54 pages of cross-tabulation data will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site on Jan. 6, 2008.