Obama even with Clinton in New Hampshire: poll

WASHINGTON Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:07am EST

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) sit onstage during the CNN/Nevada Democratic Party debate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada November 15, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) sit onstage during the CNN/Nevada Democratic Party debate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada November 15, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are locked in a dead heat among New Hampshire voters ahead of the state's primary contest next month, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll released on Friday.

Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady, and Obama, an Illinois senator, are tied at 32 percent, with former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at 18 percent, according to the poll.

New Hampshire is one of the hotly contested early primaries in the state-by-state process to pick the Democratic and Republican candidates who will face off in the November 4, 2008 presidential election.

In the tightening Republican race there, Mitt Romney, former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, leads Arizona Sen. John McCain 34 percent to 27 percent.

Just last month most New Hampshire polls showed Clinton and Romney with double-digit leads, USA Today said.

Among other Republicans, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has largely bypassed New Hampshire to focus on later contests in larger states, has 11 percent. He is effectively tied for third place with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, each with 9 percent, USA Today reported.

USA Today said the survey's fundamental finding is uncertainty, with more than 40 percent of voters in both parties saying they might change their minds before the January 8 primary.

The USA Today/Gallup Poll of 1,536 Democratic and Republican likely voters and independents leaning toward each party was taken Monday through Wednesday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

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