For the first time in a 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll, Barack Obama has toppled longtime front-runner Hillary Clinton -- by 1 percent, well within the margin of error. But, perhaps more significantly, with one day until they go to the polls, likely voters in the New Hampshire Primaries believe that Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States.

In the Democratic Primary, Obama (35 percent) leads Clinton (34 percent), John Edwards (15 percent) and Bill Richardson (3 percent). Eleven percent were undecided.

“When asked who will be the next President of the United States, 35 percent chose Obama, and 29 percent said Clinton,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Perception drives reality, and the reality is that independents are fueling this movement by a 35-percent-to-22-percent margin. Even 11 percent of likely New Hampshire Republican voters think Obama will be the next president.”

Republicans in dead heat

In the Republican Primary, the 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll also shows the margin remains the same as it has for the past three days, essentially a dead heat. Mitt Romney (30 percent) led John McCain (27 percent), followed by Rudy Giuliani (10 percent), Mike Huckabee (9 percent) Ron Paul (8 percent), and Fred Thompson (2 percent). Thirteen percent were undecided.

“The front-runners remain fixed in their positions,” said Paleologos. “Republican voters may have been waiting to get one last look at their candidates in a debate last night. Whether that forum changes minds or not remains to be seen. It’s a cliché perhaps, but what is clear from these numbers is that the campaigns must shift to the ground war.”


The poll released today is the seventh 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. 5 and Jan. 6. 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. 7, 2008.