Saturday, January 05, 2008

McCain leads in rural counties in New Hampshire

John McCain doesn't have a clear lead in the New Hampshire Republican primary but is clearly the favorite in the Granite State's rural counties, according to a 7News-Suffolk University poll released yesterday. See updates below. (Photo: Barbara Davidson, Los Angeles Times)

The Jan. 3-4 poll found Mitt Romney, former governor of adjoining Massachusetts, leading the Arizona senator 30 percent to 26 percent, within the poll's error margin of 4.4 percentage points for each result. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani each had 11 percent. McCain had surged to a clear, 9-point lead a week ago.

In Rockingham and Hillsborough counties -- the urbanized southeast and the Boston media market -- Romney led McCain 39 percent to 20 percent in the latest poll. In the more rural counties to the west and north, McCain led Romney, 30 to 20. "It would seem that the voters in the two counties that border Massachusetts have adopted . . . Romney as their favorite son,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said in a release. Giuliani and Huckabee ran about the same in rural and urban areas.

There were no statistically significant rural-urban differences among candidates in the Democratic primary, in which New York Sen. Hillary Clinton had 36 percent to 29 percent for a surging Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and 13 percent for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. For details, click here.

UPDATES: McCain leads Romney 33 to 27 percent in the latest University of New Hampshire poll for WMUR-TV and CNN, taken yesterday and today. Three days ago, they were tied. Obama and Clinton are tied at 33 percent, with Edwards at 20 percent. The poll's error margin is plus or minus 5 percent. (Read more) The Concord Monitor reports that its polling yesterday and today shows McCain leading Romney, 35 to 29 percent, and Obama leading Clinton, 34 to 33 percent -- all within the poll's error margin of 5 percentage points for each result. Read blog post from 4:13 p.m.; story is pending as of 7:25 p.m.

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