CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – The latest poll brings more good news to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race.

It shows Dean leading Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry by 46 percent to 17 percent, an increase of 7 percentage points since a similar poll last month. The poll, for television stations WMUR-TV in Manchester and WCVB-TV in Boston, had retired Gen. Wesley Clark at 10 percent and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman at 7 percent.

Trailing were North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, 4 percent; Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt, 3 percent; and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and the Rev. Al Sharpton, 1 percent each.

The telephone poll of 447 likely voters by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center was conducted Dec. 10 through Monday.

The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

News of Saddam Hussein’s capture broke Sunday, the second-to-last day of interviewing.

Other highlights of the poll were a drop in the number of undecided voters, from 27 percent in November to 11 percent, and indications that former Vice President Al Gore’s Dec. 9 endorsement of Dean had little impact. Four out of five people surveyed said the endorsement would have little influence on their decision.

Regardless of their own preference, 77 percent of those polled believe Dean will win the Jan. 27 primary, dwarfing the 5 percent who believe Kerry will win.

Looking ahead, two thirds believe President Bush is likely to be re-elected.

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AP-ES-12-17-03 2010EST

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