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Poll: Clinton, Obama tied in New Hampshire

  • Story Highlights
  • Clinton, Obama tied at top among Democratic candidates in New Hampshire
  • McCain is leading the GOP pack in New Hampshire
  • Romney was front-runner in most New Hampshire polls until last month
  • New Hampshire holds its primaries January 8
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By Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director
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MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- With the New Hampshire primary fast approaching, it's dead even in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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Hillary Clinton is tied at the top with Barack Obama.

Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois are tied, with each grabbing the support of 33 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in the Granite State, according to a new CNN/WMUR New Hampshire presidential primary poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire.

Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina is in third place with 20 percent, according to the poll, which was released Saturday afternoon, three days before the primary.

"Both Obama and Edwards appear to have benefited from the Iowa caucuses. Each picked up three points in New Hampshire. Clinton lost one point, since our last poll taken before the caucuses," said CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

On the Republican side, John McCain has emerged the leader of the GOP pack in New Hampshire.

The new CNN/WMUR survey was conducted Friday and Saturday, after the Iowa caucuses. Obama won the Iowa caucuses on the Democratic side, with Edwards slightly edging Clinton out for second place.Video Watch how the candidates rank in polls »

The biggest shift appears to be on electability. Thirty-six percent of likely Democratic New Hampshire primary voters now think Clinton has the best chance of beating the Republican presidential nominee. That's down nine points from CNN's last Granite State survey, which was conducted December 27 to 30.

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Obama is just behind Clinton when it comes to electability, at 35 percent, a virtual tie. Obama has gained 13 points since CNN's pre-caucus poll.Video Watch the differences between Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses »

"Obama got something else out of winning Iowa: a big boost in his perceived electability. A week ago, Clinton led Obama by better than two to one when New Hampshire Democrats were asked which candidate has the best chance of beating the Republican in November. Obama's victory in an overwhelmingly white state may have resolved some doubts about an African-American candidate's electability," Schneider said.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is in fourth place with 4 percent. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is at 2 percent.

The new poll suggests McCain is now the front-runner in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination in New Hampshire.

Thirty-three percent of likely GOP Granite State primary voters support the senator from Arizona, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney six points back at 27 percent.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's in third place at 14 percent, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in fourth place at 11 percent.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas follows with 9 percent, and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee are tied at 1 percent.

Huckabee won the Republican Iowa caucuses, with Romney coming in second, even though Romney's campaign vastly outspent Huckabee's organization in Iowa.

Romney was the front-runner in most New Hampshire polls until last month, when McCain pulled even in many surveys.

"It looks like Huckabee's victory among Iowa Republicans helped John McCain more than Mike Huckabee. Huckabee gained one point among New Hampshire Republicans. McCain gained four. A week ago, McCain and Mitt Romney were tied in New Hampshire. Now McCain now leads Romney by 6 points," said Schneider.

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For the CNN/WMUR survey, 359 New Hampshire residents likely to vote in the Democratic primary and 313 Granite State residents likely to vote in the Republican primary were interviewed.

The poll's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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