Republican John McCain has leapt into first place in the GOP primary race in New Hampshire, while Clinton holds on to a six-point edge in the first three-day Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby telephone tracking poll of likely voters shows.
McCain’s lead is based on strength of support among moderates and independents, while Romney holds his own in what is, like Iowa, a two-man contest at this point in the GOP contest. Among moderates, McCain wins 53% support compared to 24% for Romney—and little significant support for anyone else on the GOP side. Among mainline conservatives, the two are evenly matched with Romney winning 32% and McCain winning 31%. Among self-described “very conservative” likely primary voters, Romney leads by a wide margin with 38%. Mike Huckabee is in second among the demographic group, with 21%. McCain is third with 19%.
Among men, McCain leads Romney, 35% to 30%, and among women, McCain has 32% support to Romney’s 30%. Huckabee is third and Giuliani a close fourth in both gender demographics.
Pollster John Zogby will host a LIVE ONLINE CHAT at 1:30 p.m. TODAY to recap Iowa and discuss its implications on New Hampshire and beyond! For Zogby subscribers only—go to www.zogby.com to subscribe and see polling details you cannot get anywhere else.
Pollster John Zogby: "I want to personally invite you as a subscriber to my live chat this afternoon so I can personally answer your questions and hear your comments."
Asked about their strength of support for their candidate, 58% of McCain supporters and 52% of Romney supporters said they “will definitely vote for their candidate.”
Republicans NH Tracking
This is the first of five threeday tracking news reports to be released in advance of the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 8. All polling for this release was completed before the Iowa caucuses commenced.
On the Democratic side, Clinton’s lead includes strong support among women, where she wins 39% support, compared to 25% support for Barack Obama and 18% for John Edwards. Among men, Obama leads narrowly with 28% support, compared to 25% for Clinton and 21% for Edwards.
Democrats NH Tracking
Among likely-voting Democrats, Clinton also enjoys strength with 36% support, compared to 22% for Obama and 19% for Edwards. Among independents who said they were likely to vote in the Democratic primary, Obama enjoys 33% backing, compared to 27% support for Clinton and 21% for Edwards. Independent voters are important in New Hampshire because they can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, and the inter-party competition for their affections is fierce. Eight years ago, they supported McCain in the GOP race instead of New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley in the Democratic race against Al Gore, dealing a severe blow to the Bradley campaign. In this tracking poll, the competition appears to be shaping up between McCain and Obama.
While roughly 60% of likely voting New Hampshire independents said they were planning to vote in the Democratic primary, about 40% said they would vote in the GOP contest.
As in Iowa, younger Democrats favor Obama over Clinton, but his advantage is not now near where they were in Iowa. Likewise, Clinton retains an Iowa-like edge among older voters, but she also has a smaller edge here than in Iowa. Edwards is a solid third in all age groups.
The Republican three-day tracking survey was conducted using Zogby International’s live operator call center in Upstate New York. The GOP rolling sample included 1, 076 likely voters and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points. The Democratic rolling sample included 960 likely voters and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. Both tracking survey samples were taken between Dec. 31, 2007, and Jan. 3, 2008.
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