Clinton lead narrows in New Hampshire: poll

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 5, 2007 10:45pm EST

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) delivers an economic policy address at the NASDAQ Marketsite in New York, December 5, 2007. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) delivers an economic policy address at the NASDAQ Marketsite in New York, December 5, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's lead over rival Barack Obama in New Hampshire has narrowed to single digits a month before the state's primary election, said a poll released on Wednesday.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll showed the U.S. senator from New York leading Obama 35 percent to 29 percent in the race for New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary on January 8. The survey had a 4 percentage point error margin.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was in third place with 17 percent, followed by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at 10 percent.

Three others competing to be the Democratic candidate in the November 2008 presidential election -- U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden and Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut -- each had 3 percentage points or less.

The findings suggested a fiercely competitive race in New Hampshire months after an early autumn CNN/WMUR survey gave Clinton a lead of more than 20 points over Obama, who is a U.S. senator from Illinois, the Post said on its Web site.

That could mean new trouble for Clinton, who was recently edged out of first place by Obama in a Des Moines Register newspaper poll in Iowa, which holds the first contest of the party nominating process with its January 3 caucuses.

Among New Hampshire voters who want a fresh approach to governing, the Post said Obama led 44 percent to 19 percent each for Clinton and Edwards.

Clinton drew 57 percent of voters who view strength and experience as the most important issue, compared to 14 percent for Edwards, 11 percent for Richardson and 10 percent for Obama.

Obama had the edge on honesty, with 29 percent calling him the most trustworthy, compared with 21 percent who said so of Clinton and 17 percent for Edwards, the Post said.

The survey polled 592 New Hampshire adults who said they were likely to vote in the state's Democratic primary.

(Reporting by David Morgan, editing by Doina Chiacu)

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