Add two more polls, and a debate

Add two more polls to today's deluge of New Hampshire surveys. And the numbers are very much in line with the five we saw earlier today: Obama's bounce is only getting bigger, and Romney is making up some of his deficit. The major poll that will be talked about a lot tomorrow is the USA Today/Gallup survey, taken Friday to Sunday so clearly post-Iowa:

  • Barack Obama gets his highest percentage yet, beating Hillary 41% to 28% with Edwards at 19%.
  • Among Republicans, McCain has a narrow 34% to 30% lead with Huckabee at 13% and Paul and Giuliani at 8%.
Obviously very damaging numbers for Hillary Clinton who could perhaps stay competitive if she loses in New Hampshire but not if she gets trounced so massively. And we get the ARG tracking poll that is, as any tracking, very useful in determining trends:

  • The number of undecideds among Democrats has collapsed but Barack Obama is still up by double-digits, 39% to 28% (that's actually a slight improvement for Clinton who was down 12% yesterday). Edwards gets 22% -- dangerously close to Clinton.
  • The Republican numbers, meanwhile, are very interesting: Down 14% yesterday, Romney is now trailing 35% to 27% with Huckabee at 12% and Giuliani at 10%.
While the margin is still significant, this is still more evidence that some pro-Romney movement is happening this week-end as almost all of today's 7 polls have picked it up. And don't forget we will have even more data points tomorrow with a new round of tracking polls -- this primary is truly one of the most polled contests in recent memory.

Meanwhile, the GOP candidates were having their second debate in two days, this time on Fox News. I only got to watch the last 10 minutes so I will not offer much analysis here but to say that the 5 candidates were sitting as cramped as they could possibly be without being on top of each other. Very strange choice on Fox's part. Ron Paul had been excluded from the debate, which meant the candidates did not have their favorite punching bag.

Check out this recap from Politico's Jonathan Martin. In brief, it appears that the candidates had been told to tone down the Romney-bashing after yesterday's pathetic scene of middle-school bullying and as a result the debate was rather tame with candidates making sure to not air anymore negativity. The consensus among observers seems to be that Romney and McCain mostly neutralized each other and that while Romney was in command of the discussion McCain had some good moments that enabled him to shine through. For all it's worth, Fox News's panel of undecided voters had overwhelmingly loved Romney and converted into firm believers (though they also seemed to be looking at each other a lot before raising their hand).

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