Clinton, Romney lead in primary poll


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney hold the leads in their New Hampshire primary races, a new poll shows. But the poll, for the Concord Monitor, also finds each would face tougher challenges in the general election than others would.

In the Republican primary, 27 percent backed former Massachusetts governor Romney, while 20 percent picked Rudy Giuliani and 16 percent chose John McCain.

Former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who hasn’t announced yet, showed 15 percent.

In the Democratic primary, 33 percent chose Clinton, while 25 percent picked Barack Obama and 15 percent went with John Edwards. Bill Richardson showed 7 percent.

For the primary contests, Maryland-based Research 2000 sampled 400 likely voters in each primary, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

But in a poll for potential general election matchups, Clinton and Romney each face tough obstacles.

Neither Romney, nor Clinton is the strongest in head-to-head matches with candidates from the other party.

The general election results were compiled from 600 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.

For Romney, 35 percent of voters see him favorably, but 41 percent see him unfavorably, giving him a net favorability rating of negative six. Giuliani’s net favorability is plus 14.

On the Democratic side, Clinton’s net rating is plus 7; Obama’s is plus 17.

In head-to-head matchups with each of the top Democrats, Giuliani does best; Romney fares poorest in every case.

On the Democratic side, Clinton wins head-to-head matchups with all of the poll-topping Republicans, but Obama outpaces her by a point in almost every case, a tie considering the margin of error.

Clinton also has 40 percent of voters rating her unfavorably, the highest rating in her party.

Ali said the only way he can foresee the Republicans taking New Hampshire in the 2008 general election is if Clinton is the nominee.

For the rest of the Democratic primary field, Chris Dodd picked up 3 percent, while Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich garnered 2 percent. Mike Gravel gets 1 percent.

Among Republicans, several candidates got 1 percent: Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Tommy Thompson.

Information from: Concord Monitor,

AP-ES-07-15-07 1939EDT