Morning polls: NH and FL shuffle, and Clinton wins the SC general election?!

Plenty of early-state polls on this Friday morning -- none of them are truly shocking, but they underscore just how much the race has been shuffled in the past 2 weeks. First up is a Research 2000 poll from New Hampshire, where Clinton's once mighty lead is completely gone:

  • Obama is ahead 31% to 30%, with Edwards at 18%. Amont registered Democrats, Clinton leads 36% to 27%, but among independants, Obama leads 40% to 23%. So Obama must get these independents at the polls -- and get them to vote in the Democratic rather than the GOP side.
  • Research 2000 also polled head-to-head, and found Obama leading Clinton 45% to 41% but Clinton leading Obama 47% to 41% -- which implies that voters who back someone else than the two front-runners wouldn't run in an anti-Clinton alliance.

  • Among Republicans, the poll is almost exactly in line with every other poll we have seen in the past 10 days: Mitt Romney is at 31%, followed by Giuliani at 18%, McCain at 17% and Huckabee at 9%. Ron Paul gets 7%.
Yes, Obama's 1 point edge is statistically completely insignicant. But remember that he did not lead in a single NH poll from May to a few days ago. That says something about how far he's come in the past few week. And among Republicans, the same goes as always: Huckabee is not surging at all in New Hampshire, though he is surging everywhere else. And that gives a huge opening to Romney to hold on to this state and set up a showdown with Huck in later states.

Next is a CNN poll from South Carolina:

  • Among Republicans, it's Huckabee at 24%, followed by Thompson at 17%, Giuliani and Romney at 16%. McCain gets 13% and Ron Paul gets a stunning (and unmatched before I believe) 11%!
  • Among Democrats, Clinto at least retains a lead, 42% to 34% to Obama, with Edwards at 16%. The African-American vote is now split, with Clinton getting 46% and Obama 45%.
  • CNN also tested some general election mach-ups: Clinton wins against Rudy 48% to 47% and loses to Huckabee by the same margin.
That's right, Clinton is leading Giuliani in South Carolina, a state Bush won 58% to 41%. It is naturally very unlikely that the Democratic nominee carries it, but it points to the levelling of the field -- and to the fact that we have a national election in our hands next year.

As for the primary numbers, Clinton's SC lead had shrank smaller than that, so it must be a relief for her to hold on to a lead and to a tie in the black vote -- which looks like it will decide the election. And among Republicans, a stunning six candidates are in double-digits and within 13% of each other, underscoring the fragility of the race. If Huck and Romney win IA and NH, it will likely come down to a two-way contest between them here.

And Rasmussen polled the GOP race in Florida, Rudy's firewall:

  • And it really is no firewall at all anymore: Huckabee leads 27% to Romney 23%, with Giuliani at 19%. Thompson is at 9%. A month ago, Rudy was at 27% and Huckabee at 9%...
What this means is that Rudy has probably no hope of winning Florida if he lets Romney and Huckabee win earlier states; if they are already leading him now in what is supposedly his firewall, can he have any hope of prevailing in 6 weeks? So for Rudy, it's really make-or-break in New Hampshire.

Finally, the last poll comes from Rasmussen's general election stock: Matched against Giuliani, Barack Obama ties at 43%; against Romney, he gets 45% to 41% -- a tight race against both.

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  • I would be interested to see an independent review of the methodology used by CNN in South Carolina. I'm no pollster, but the numbers look funny to me. Perhaps Clinton supporters are oversampled?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 December, 2007 12:42  

  • I have to agree. The CNN poll looks suspect as it shows Clinton even with Obama with African-American voters. Other polls of SC taken over the past three weeks show Obama with a lead over Clinton among African-Americans. Unless this trend is confirmed with other polls, I'd have to say the CNN poll is just an outlier.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 December, 2007 13:04  

  • Another problem with the CNN poll is that it is only of registered voters, not likely voters

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 December, 2007 13:06  

  • Just thought you might want to know that Research 2000 just released a poll of Iowa conducted dec. 10 to 13 showing Obama up by 9 33 to 24 over Clinton and Edwards.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 December, 2007 14:04  

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