With the New Hampshire Presidential Primaries just four days away, Mitt Romney has taken back the lead from John McCain in the Republican Primary, while Hillary Clinton maintains her lead over Iowa Caucus Democratic winner Barack Obama, according to a 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll released today.

In the Republican Primary, Romney (29 percent) led McCain (25 percent), while Iowa Caucus Republican winner Mike Huckabee (13 percent) continued to gain ground. Candidates remaining static were Rudy Giuliani (9 percent), Ron Paul (8 percent), Fred Thompson (2 percent) and Duncan Hunter (1 percent). Twelve percent were undecided. Giuliani’s numbers have either declined or stayed the same in eight consecutive polls, from a high of 37 percent in March 2007 to 9 percent as of Jan. 4, 2008.

Romney gaining with older voters

“Romney knows where his strengths are, and now he’s doing something about his weaknesses,” said Suffolk University Political Research Center Director David Paleologos. “He’s essentially erased McCain’s advantage among older voters, and the focus of that constituency is smart politics. Historically, older folks are the most reliable voting block; they turn out.”

Romney is now challenging what had formerly been McCain’s stronghold of older voters (ages 65+). Romney still trails McCain 35 percent-to-33 percent but has made significant gains. Another 16 percent is undecided and up for grabs. In addition, Romney’s advance can be attributed to very strong support among young women ages 18-45 years, where Romney now leads McCain 34 percent-to-20 percent. Huckabee also is polling 20 percent in this category.

Independents favor Obama

In the Democratic Primary, the 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll also shows that Clinton (37 percent) continues to lead Obama (25 percent), John Edwards (15 percent), Bill Richardson (4 percent), Joe Biden (2 percent) and Dennis Kucinich (1 percent). Twelve percent were undecided.

“Although Clinton led most categories, Obama led Clinton 33 percent-to-30 percent among young independent voters, the same demographic that propelled him to victory in Iowa. The question now becomes: Can Clinton sustain her current advantage across the board.”


The poll released today is the fourth of 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 6:30 a.m. on “7NEWS Today in New England.”

Suffolk University Adjunct Professor David Paleologos will be 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. 2 and Jan. 3. 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. 4, 2008.