The latest Suffolk University/7News poll in the battleground state of New Hampshire finds that Barack Obama (53 percent) has surged to a 13-point lead over John McCain (40 percent), largely on the strength of support from women.

The same demographic that put Hillary Clinton over the top in her stunning New Hampshire primary victory last January is now squarely behind Obama, according to the poll, released today by Suffolk University and 7News (WHDH-TV) in Boston.


Obama and McCain are tied among men in the Granite State, both drawing 46 percent, the Suffolk/7News poll finds. But women are supporting Obama by a 60 percent-to-35 percent margin.

“If John McCain were hoping women would rally to help him steal a victory in New Hampshire, as they did for Hillary Clinton, those hopes may be dashed,” said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston. “And these numbers suggest that Sarah Palin has done little to help the Republican ticket, particularly with women voters.”

Democrats lead in statewide races

In fact, female voters may give the Democrats a clean sweep in New Hampshire. Jeanne Shaheen leads Republican rival John Sununu by 48 percent to 39 percent. As in the presidential race, the two candidates are tied among men, but Shaheen crushes Sununu among women, 54 percent to 35 percent.

Incumbent New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (67 percent) also is running away in his race with Republican Joe Kenney (15 percent), with strong support from men and women.

Obama has a 55 percent-to-34 percent lead among independents and is winning the battle for cross-over voters. Six percent of respondents who voted for John Kerry in 2004 are moving for McCain. But 15 percent of those who voted for President George W. Bush are backing Obama.

Universal appeal

The poll of likely voters found that Obama is winning in all regions of the state and in all age groups, including those over 65.

A separate Suffolk bellwether poll of the towns of Epping and Tamworth finds Obama with a 10-point lead -- 48 percent to 38 percent. In 2008, Suffolk University bellwethers were 95 percent accurate in predicting straight-up winners in both Democratic and Republican primaries, and, when in agreement with the statewide Suffolk polls of the respective states, were 100 percent accurate in predicting straight-up winners
Nearly three-fourths of respondents (72 percent) believe Obama will be president, regardless of whom they plan to vote for, compared to 13 percent who believe it will be McCain



Negative views of Bush

Paleologos said disapproval with Bush’s performance is a common thread seen in the poll. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they disapprove of the job Bush is doing.

“Displeasure with President Bush is another major factor driving what’s shaping up to be a Democratic sweep,” Paleologos said. “Despite their best efforts, Republicans have been unable to escape the Bush backlash.’’



The Suffolk University/7News poll was conducted Monday, Oct. 27, 2008, through Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. The margin of error on the study of 600 is +/- 4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the New Hampshire statewide survey were likely voters. There were 301 respondents from the bellwethers of Epping and Tamworth, N.H., identified separately from the statewide poll. Marginals and 153 pages of cross-tabulation data will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.