Obama rockets past Clinton in New Hampshire

Mon Jan 7, 2008 7:06am EST
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By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama rocketed to a 10-point lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire one day before their showdown in the state's presidential primary, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Monday.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona also began to pull away from rival Mitt Romney, opening a five-point lead on the Massachusetts governor as what had been tight races in both parties began to open up.

This is the first of the rolling New Hampshire polls taken entirely after last week's caucuses in Iowa, where Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee scored breakthrough wins that left Clinton and Romney reeling.

Obama, an Illinois senator bidding to make history as the first black U.S. president, gained 11 points on Clinton to lead the one-time Democratic front-runner 39 percent to 29 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was third with 19 percent.

"This is a breathtaking movement in Obama's direction," said pollster John Zogby. "It's a surge for Obama and movement away from Clinton."

He said the rush toward Obama was even more pronounced in the one day of polling after Saturday's Democratic debate in Manchester, where Clinton went on the attack against Obama and drew a rebuke from Edwards.

"It's almost Iowa redux," Zogby said. "In the closing days in Iowa we saw Clinton losing her strong support among women, liberals and Democrats, and it's happening again."

He said Obama had a big and growing lead among independents and held the edge among young voters, moderates and union members.   Continued...

<p>Presidential candidates U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Barak Obama meet onstage between back to back Republican and Democratic debates at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire January 5, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>