McCain takes lead in new N.H. poll

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Sen. John McCain, whose presidential bid was given up for dead months ago, swept past Mitt Romney to take a 31 percent to 25 percent lead over the former Massachusetts governor heading in to Tuesday’s New Hampshire Republican primary, a Channel 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll said yesterday.

In a poll last month by the same group, the Arizona senator trailed Mr. Romney by 12 percentage points.

“Many of the Republican candidates have been talking about faith, but it looks like John McCain is headed for a religious experience in the Granite State,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “If these numbers hold up, New Hampshire Republicans may give McCain the nickname of Lazarus, rising from the dead.”

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani apparently got no bump from the renewed focus on national security, terrorism and foreign affairs after the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He ran third with 14 percent in the poll completed Monday, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 9 percent, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 6 percent and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee at 2 percent. The rarely seen, rarely heard-from perennial candidate, former Ambassador Alan Keyes posted at 1 percent.

But the big loser in the latest poll was Mr. Romney, who slipped six percentage points.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, widened her lead with 36 percent to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama”s 22 percent. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina is at 14 percent.

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