The Vermont politician still is in front in New Hampshire.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Howard Dean begins the final stretch of campaigning for next week’s New Hampshire primary with a slim lead over his rivals, according to several tracking polls out Tuesday.

The former Vermont governor led in an American Research Group poll with 28 percent to 20 percent for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and 19 percent for retired general Wesley Clark.

Dean also was ahead in a CNN-USA Today-Gallup tracking poll with 32 percent to 25 percent for Kerry, 21 percent for Clark and single digits for others, and in a tracking poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

In that poll done for Fox News, WMUR-TV of Manchester, N.H., and WCVB-TV of Boston, Dean was at 33 percent, Kerry at 24 percent and Clark at 18 percent.

Any bounce from the Iowa caucuses, won by Kerry, could take a couple of days to show up in polls generally.

But a tracking poll by Suffolk University of Boston for WDHD-TV showed Dean at 23 percent and Kerry at 20 percent, within the two-day poll’s 5 percentage point margin of error. Clark was at 15 percent with other candidates in single digits.

The polls by ARG, UNH and Gallup were done over the last three days. ARG and Gallup had margins of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, while the UNH poll’s error margin was 5 percentage points.

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