Barack Obama (46 percent) leads Hillary Clinton (44 percent) by a razor-thin margin among likely Democratic voters, according to a poll released today by 7NEWS/Suffolk University. Seven percent of Democratic and independent voters were undecided. However, 27 percent of Democratic voters and 24 percent of Republican voters say they may change their minds before tomorrow.

 Obama was strong among men (49 percent-to-30 percent), independents (43 percent-to-35 percent), in Middlesex & Essex counties (46 percent-to-36 percent) and among voters ages 18-45 years (55 percent-to-31 percent). Clinton’s areas of strength contrasted sharply with Obama’s: She led among women (52 percent-to-35 percent), in the Worcester/West area (52 percent-to-34 percent) and among voters ages 66 years and up (59 percent-to-26 percent).

GOP split

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney (50 percent) leads John McCain (37 percent), with Mike Huckabee (4 percent) and Ron Paul (3 percent) trailing. Six percent were undecided.

“Mitt Romney can thank Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul for helping to split the anti-Romney vote in Massachusetts. Without them, this race would be much closer."

Primary voters were split on whether or not they are better off today than they were eight years ago. Only 35 percent of Democratic voters answered yes to this question, while 59 percent said no. However, on the Republican side, 62 percent indicated they are better off since the year 2000, while 32 percent said they are not.

Predicting overall winner

Asked who would be the next president, the combination of Democrats and Republicans picked Hillary Clinton (27 percent) regardless of whom they personally supported. She was followed by Barack Obama (25 percent), John McCain (21 percent) and Mitt Romney (10 percent).

Methodology

The 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll was conducted Friday, Feb. 1, through Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008. The margin of error on each party's statewide survey of 400 is +/- 4.90 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the statewide survey were likely primary voters in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary on Feb. 5. Marginals and 265 pages of cross-tabulation data are available on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.

7NEWS/Suffolk University will be calling selected bellwether communities in Massachusetts on the evening of Feb. 4 as an added predictor module for possible election outcomes.