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Inside Politics

Polls: Kerry leads rivals in New Hampshire

Momentum builds after Iowa victory

Clockwise from top left: Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Kerry and John Edwards.
Clockwise from top left: Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Kerry and John Edwards.

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CNN's Bill Schneider describes a turnaround in the Democrats' fortunes as Sen. John Kerry surges to the top of the polls.
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MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry moved atop the Democratic pack in New Hampshire five days before the state's presidential primary, with a five-point edge over his closest rival, Howard Dean, in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll out Thursday.

Kerry, a senator from neighboring Massachusetts, got a boost from his victory in the Iowa caucuses Monday night, and several other polls also showed him at the top of the pack Thursday.

Kerry had the support of 30 percent of likely New Hampshire voters in the three-day poll, conducted Monday through Wednesday. Dean, the former Vermont governor, followed with 25 percent, and retired Gen. Wesley Clark was at 18 percent.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who placed second in Monday's Iowa caucuses, won the support of 11 percent of likely voters, while Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut trailed with 8 percent. Rep. Dennis Kucinich weighed in at 4 percent, and civil rights activist Al Sharpton had the support of less than one percent of those surveyed.

Also Thursday, two Boston newspaper polls showed Kerry leading Dean, 31 percent to 21 percent. The polls -- one by The Boston Globe and WBZ-TV and the other by The Boston Herald -- were conducted Tuesday and Wednesday in the aftermath of Kerry's win in Iowa.

Clark was third in both polls with 16 percent, followed by Edwards and Lieberman with 4 percent.

The Boston Globe/WBZ poll had Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio at 1 percent with Sharpton trailing him. Sixteen percent of those surveyed identified themselves as undecided. The poll, with a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, was based on a survey of 400 likely primary voters.

The Boston Herald poll surveyed 501 likely Democratic primary voters and 14 percent identified themselves as unsure. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Analysts said the difference between the newspapers polls and CNN's poll could be a reflection of when they were conducted. The two newspaper polls surveyed likely voters after Kerry's victory, while the CNN poll included Monday -- the day of the Iowa contest -- in its timeframe.

A Zogby poll had the race much closer between Kerry and Dean, 27 percent to 24 percent. But that poll was conducted Monday through Wednesday, meaning part of it was based on surveys before Kerry's victory in Iowa. It was based on a survey of 601 likely primary voters and has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The same was true for a poll by the American Research Group which placed Kerry at first with 27 percent, followed by Dean at 22 percent. That poll, based on interviews with 811 registered likely voters, was also conducted Monday through Wednesday. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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