By Stuart Rothenberg
A new poll conducted by SRBI Research of New York City for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College shows New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton holding a commanding 21-point lead in the state’s Democratic primary and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with a smaller, but still considerable, 10-point lead in the GOP race.
In an ominous sign for Republicans in the general election, almost 46% of respondents who say they are paying “a lot” of attention to the campaigns say they plan to participate in the Democratic primary, while only 36% say they will vote in the GOP contest. Among those paying “some” attention, 38% plan to vote in the Democratic contest, while only 34% plan to vote in the GOP primary.
These numbers suggest that Democrats are already invested in the Democratic race, while Republicans are less engaged. It’s uncertain, of course, whether Republican voters will become more interested in the GOP primary as the actual vote approaches, or whether they are generally less interested in the 2008 election, which could mean depressed Republican turnout in November.
New Hampshire’s undeclared voters, who are allowed to select the party primary in which they wish to participate, currently are more than twice as inclined to vote in the Democratic primary. Almost 41% of undeclared votes say that they now plan to participate in the Democratic primary, while just under 19% say that they are planning to vote in the GOP contest.
Clinton’s standing in the survey is impressive. She attracts the support of more than 42% of Democratic primary voters, with Illinois Senator Barack Obama winning just 22% and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards attracting only 14%. Polls conducted over the past few months in Iowa show Obama, Edwards and Clinton much more closely bunched.
Clinton leads among both men and women, in all parts of the state, among both Catholics and Protestants and among self-described conservatives, moderates and liberals participating in the Democratic contest.
In the Republican race, the new poll shows Romney drawing over 32% to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s almost 22%. Arizona Senator John McCain comes in third with over 15%, while libertarian Congressman Ron Paul draws over 7%, good for fourth place.
McCain’s showing in the new survey undoubtedly is affected by the fact that so few undeclared voters have at this point decided to participate in the Republican race. He won the Granite State GOP primary in 2000, in part, because of a strong showing among undeclared (Independent) voters.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee finishes fifth in the GOP primary poll with just under 6%, and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson finishes sixth with less than 5%. Neither has demonstrated the kind of movement in the Granite State that would suggest they are becoming factors in the state’s Republican race.
The survey found that Romney’s lead among self-described conservatives is even larger than among all GOP primary voters. He draws over 35% among conservatives, while Giuliani is just under 20% among those Republican primary voters.
While Romney continues to trail in national surveys of Republicans, he leads in Iowa and New Hampshire. Victories for him in both states would make him a formidable force for the Republican nomination.
A Clinton’s win in the Granite State Democratic primary would all but guarantee her the Democratic nomination if she also wins the Iowa Democratic Caucuses.
The telephone survey of 1,514 likely primary voters was conducted October 15-21. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 2.6%. The margin for Democrats is +/- 4.1%, for Republicans is +/- 4.5% and for undeclared voters is +/- 4.8%.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
By Stuart Rothenberg