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Poll: Clinton recaptures lead in New Hampshire

  • Story Highlights
  • Clinton was virtually tied with Obama in last week's New Hampshire poll
  • Romney leads the GOP pack in New Hampshire, followed by McCain, Giuliani
  • Most New Hampshire voters say they haven't made a definite decision yet
  • New Hampshire primary is January 8; most voters say Iowa won't affect vote
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Hillary Clinton appears to have recaptured the lead among Democratic candidates in New Hampshire, according to results of a new CNN/WMUR poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire.

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Sen. Hillary Clinton appears to be gaining ground among other Democratic candidates in New Hampshire.

Clinton was virtually tied with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in last week's New Hampshire poll, along with several other recent surveys.

But in the Wednesday poll, the New York senator now has a 12-point lead over Obama -- 38 percent to 26 percent.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is in third place with 14 percent, with the remaining Democratic hopefuls in single digits, according to the poll.

Clinton gained some 7 percentage points over last week's poll, with Obama losing 4 percentage points. Video Watch what the new numbers mean »

"Nearly all of Clinton's gains come among older voters. She also is ranked higher than Obama on every issue tested, with health care and the economy her strongest suits," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

On the Republican side, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is in first place for the Granite State's GOP voters, with 34 percent. Arizona Sen. John McCain has 22 percent, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has 16 percent. Since last week's poll, McCain has gained 3 percentage points and Giuliani has slipped the same amount. See how the candidates measure up »

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is in fourth place with 10 percent. The remaining Republican candidates are in single digits.

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The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Since last week, McCain has won the endorsement of two newspapers circulated in New Hampshire -- the Union-Leader of Manchester and the Boston Globe. He also grabbed the backing of Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-Independent senior senator from Connecticut and 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee.

"Unlike the Democrats, GOP primary voters don't think that one candidate can do the best job on every issue. Romney gets the nod on domestic issues such as the economy, taxes, immigration and abortion. Giuliani is seen as the candidate who would best handle terrorism, and McCain is seen as best able to handle the war in Iraq," said Holland.

A whopping 65 percent of poll respondents who identify themselves as likely Democratic voters, however, said they have not made a definite decision on their vote -- and say the January 3 Iowa caucuses will not affect that decision. And even more likely GOP primary voters -- 74 percent -- said the same.

New Hampshire holds its primary on January 8.

Republican primary voters were evenly split on which issue was the most important to them -- 15 percent each said the economy, immigration and terrorism, with 13 saying Iraq was most important. Among Democratic primary voters, 31 percent each said health care and Iraq were the most important issues, with only 12 percent naming the economy.

Clinton, however, was named across the board as the candidate who could do the best job on every issue.

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Although Romney leads in most New Hampshire polls, he has lost the lead in Iowa to Huckabee. Giuliani and Huckabee top the list in most national polls.

Wednesday's poll surveyed 411 New Hampshire residents who say they will vote in the Republican primary and 469 New Hampshire residents who say they will vote in the Democratic primary. Interviews were conducted by telephone between December 13 and 17. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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