Baseline New Hampshire polls: Last set of pre-Iowa numbers

Suffolk and Zogby released their two tracking polls from New Hampshire today, and both surveys were in the field prior to the Iowa results being announced. That will not be the case tomorrow, but today's numbers are nonetheless useful: They provide us with a final pre-Iowa baseline that will give us a precise idea of just how much Obama (and perhaps Huckabee) got boosted after their caucus win. And don't forget: New Hampshire is much easier to poll than Iowa.

  • In the Democratic race, Suffolk has Hillary maintaining her lead, 37% to Obama's 25%. Edwards gets 15%. Yesterday, it was 39% to 23%.
  • Zogby has a tighter race: Clinton is at 32% to Obama's 26%, with Edwards close behind at 20%.

  • Among Republicans, Suffolk has Romney taking the lead for the first time, up 29% to 25% (it was 29-25 for McCain yesterday), with Huckabee at 13% and Giuliani at 9%.
  • Zogby has close numbers as well, with McCain up 34% to 30%, with Huckabee at 10%, Giuliani at 9%. Zogby also showed Paul at 7% and Thompson at... 2%.
Remember the time that Clinton was up 20% or more in every New Hampshire poll? That was in October, and it basically meant that she could survive an Iowa stumble and still win New Hampshire -- for a 20% meltdown in 5 days was hard to imagine. But she lost that edge way before Iowa voted and Obama has a much smaller deficit to make up. We will know tomorrow how much ground he has made up, and I would expect some big movement inthe coming days. The big unknown is how much -- if at all -- Edwards moves.

Among Republicans, it is striking that McCain took the lead for Romney before Iowa even voted, which is going to make things very difficult for Mitt in the coming days. As I said before, McCain has one good thing and one bad thing going for him: (1) He might not get as big a number of independents to vote him for as he would like given Obama's new-found front-runner status, and (2) Giuliani's meltdown (I believe he will not be invited to this week-end's debate? though that has to be confirmed) means more votes for McCain.

Rudy Giuliani's reaction to yesterday's results is priceless, by the way. Asked to justify how he can remain viable with a 3% showing that puts him sixth, much closer to Duncan Hunter than he is to Ron Paul, Giuliani answered: "None of this worries me -- Sept. 11, there were times I was worried." Remember Joe Biden's joke at the Philly debate? "There are only three things he makes in a sentence... A noun and a verb and 9/11." Giuliani is becoming his own caricature in the past few days -- and frankly he has nothing else to do given how far he is from the action and from the press right now, as no one is paying any attention to Florida where he is spending most of his time.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen has found that Barack Obama has opened up national leads against Giuliani and Romney. A month ago, Giuliani and Obama were tied at 43%. Today, Obama leads 47% to 37%. Obama leads Romney 45% to 39% (which is probably the first time Romney looks more competitive than Giuliani). Hillary Clinton has not been polled for a while (but we should expect numbers soon) so let's avoid comparisons for now, but obviously very good news for Obama. And in the primary daily tracking poll done by Rasmussen, that can also be used as a baseline to see how things evolve in the coming Iowa days: It's Hillary at 38%, Obama at 26%, Edwards at 18%. Among Republicans, McCain gets 18%, Romney 17%, Huckabee 16% and Giuliani 14%. Thompson is at 13%. We will look in the coming days to see whether there are significant changes.

Update: Add a third New Hampshire poll taken prior to the causes to the list of baseline numbers. This one is from ARG, and why many of you will probably be weary of trusting them because of their prediction of a 9% Clinton victory keep in mind that polling Iowa is a very difficult exercise and they clearly had underestimated the youth vote more than anything else. ARG is a New Hampshire based company and they are reputed to be much better in NH polling. This poll has been taken from Jan 1st to 3rd, so we will start getting post-Iowa results tomorrow:

  • Among Democrats, Hillary is barely ahead of Obama, 35% to 31% with Edwards at 15%.
  • Among Republicans, McCain has opened up his biggest lead yet, 35% to 25%. Huckabee is at 12%, Paul at 9% with Giuliani fifth at 8%. Thompson only gets 1% -- very much in line with every other poll. Can Hunter beat Thompson?

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