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January 7, 2008

New Hampshire Polls: Obama Up Big, McCain Edging Romney

Two polls out in the last 12 hours show similar results for tomorrow's New Hampshire primaries, and both mean big trouble for two candidates seen as front-runners here earlier. Mitt Romney may lose the second state in his early-contest strategy, but he will likely make it close against John McCain. On the other side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton appears ready to lose big again against Barack Obama, further damaging her prospects for the nomination:

USA Today:

Amid frenetic last-minute campaigning, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds the onetime front-runners in New Hampshire lagging as Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain have surged to leads before Tuesday's primary.

Obama vaulted to a 13 percentage-point advantage over New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton three weeks after they were tied here. McCain gained a four-point edge over Mitt Romney, a former governor of neighboring Massachusetts who has campaigned almost as a favorite son.

Rasmussen on Democrats and Republicans in the Granite State:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in New Hampshire shows Barack Obama earning 39% of the vote while Hillary Clinton attracts 27%. The survey was conducted on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. All interviews were conducted after the Iowa caucuses and before last night’s debate. ...

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in New Hampshire shows John McCain earning 32% of the vote while Mitt Romney attracts 30%.

Assuming that the results remain the same through the primaries -- the first in the nation -- the election will continue to produce surprises. First, looking at the Republicans, Mitt Romney has a problem. He would gain delegates, certainly, and a significant share. However, this will be the second state in a row that he showered with cash and still could not produce a clear win. If McCain beats him more soundly than by two or four points, as Huckabee did with his nine-point win in Iowa, Republican voters will likely question his ability to beat anyone anywhere, even with Romney's fundraising and organizational advantages.

The Democratic results hold far more drama. If Obama has the kind of spread in a victory tomorrow as both polls show, Hillary may be toast. After having lost Iowa by nine points and falling to third place, a double-digit loss in the Granite State should demonstrate that even Democrats have their limits on Clintonisms. Forget about inevitability; Democrats will question how she can beat any of the Republicans when she can't even muster a victory against a man who has yet to complete his first term in the Senate.

The demographics hold more bad news for Hillary. Obama has a seven-point lead among women, negating her supposed strength. He beats her in every age category except 65+, where they tie. Obama now leads her among Democrats by seven points, but among independents he crushes her by 23 points. Self-professed conservatives, moderates, and liberals all go to Obama. The only Granite State demographic Hillary wins is households earning between $20-40K.

It looks like an obliteration in New Hampshire for Hillary. If her team started hitting the panic button after Iowa, expect them to start publicly discussing how the campaign went off the rails -- and looking for spots on Obama's team.


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