With the New Hampshire Presidential Primaries less than seven months away, the Democratic Primary has a clear front-runner, while the Republican Primary is still too close to call, according to a 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll.

Of likely Democratic voters, 37 percent said they support or lean to Hillary Clinton, 19 percent picked Barack Obama, while John Edwards and Bill Richardson each received 9 percent. Just 16 percent were undecided.

“Hillary Clinton clears the field and with only 16 percent undecided; it is unlikely that any of her announced opponents will catch her," said Suffolk University Political Research Center Director David Paleologos.

Younger voters favor Obama
Clinton’s large lead over Obama is driven by an age gap, not a gender gap. Among younger voters (ages 18-45), Obama led Clinton, 26 percent-to-25 percent, but among older voters (ages 56 and over), Clinton trounced Obama, 47 percent-to-15 percent.

The Gore factor
The only obstacle for Clinton in the Democratic primary is Al Gore. Twenty-nine percent of Clinton voters would switch to Gore if he announced for president, and when all of the switches from other Democratic candidates were recalculated, Gore would defeat Clinton. In total, 32 percent of Democratic voters would support Gore over the candidate they are currently leaning toward. 

Romney leads GOP
In the Republican Primary, Mitt Romney (26 percent) led Rudy Giuliani (22 percent), John McCain (13 percent), and Fred Thompson (13 percent), with 17 percent undecided. Romney's first-place showing contrasts sharply to his third-place finish (17 percent) in a March Suffolk University Republican ballot test, where he trailed Giuliani and McCain. Romney's current surge is fueled by younger voters (ages 18-45), where Romney bested Giuliani, 41 percent-to-25 percent.

More than half of Republican Primary voters (56 percent) said that a president’s religion should never affect his or her policy making. This suggests that the Catholic Church’s stance against Giuliani’s pro-choice position may have less impact than some experts have predicted.

With speculation swirling around the possibility of an independent presidential bid by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll finds Democrats benefiting from him entering the race. Bloomberg recorded 6 percent-to-8 percent of likely New Hampshire voters and was tested in six different General Election matchups. In all six scenarios, the Democratic nominees improved or maintained their margins with the independent in the race.

Iraq the lead issue
The most important issue to New Hampshire voters was the Iraq war (34 percent), followed by Homeland Security/terrorism (19 percent), health care (15 percent), economy/jobs (8 percent), education (7 percent), and the environment (7 percent).

The 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll was conducted from June 20 to June 24, 2007. The margin of error is +/- 4.38 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. The 500 respondents statewide were all likely voters in the New Hampshire Primary. Marginals and 600 pages of cross-tabulation data are available on the Suffolk University Web site.