- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney continue to slide in New Hampshire while John McCain increases his already healthy lead over the Republican presidential nomination field in the latest Suffolk University-Boston 7News poll released today.

Just six days before the primary, Mr. McCain, in an astonishing comeback after the near bankruptcy of his campaign earlier this year, wins 32 percent of respondents in the new poll. Mr. Romney takes 23 percent, Mr. Giuliani 11 percent and Mike Huckabee 10 percent. Ron Paul take 8 percent of the respondents and Fred Thompson 2 percent, with Duncan Hunter scraping together 1 percent.

“The question is can McCain survive a third-place finish in Iowa if Romney storms into New Hampshire with a first- or second-place win,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

Mr. McCain leads 46 percdent to 24 pecent among older voters – usually the most reliable when it comes to actually going to the polls. The Arizona senator also leads among both registered Republicans and independents.

Independents, once the strong suit for Mr. Romney, put Mr. McCain in the winner’s circle in the 2000 New Hampshire primary.

Mr. Paleologis noted that Mr. Paul’s third-place showing among Independents “may reduce the available independent pie left on election day.” Independents may vote in either the Republican or Democratic primaries. The poll has Hillary Clinton at 37 percent, Barack Obama at 20 percent, John Edwards at 16 percent and Bill Richardson at 5 percent. Joe Biden gets 3 percent, and Christopher Dodd and Dennis Kucinich get 1 percent each, leaving 16 percent undecided. In the poll of likey Republican voters, 13 percent were undecided. Mr. Giuliani’s share has declined in six consecutive polls from a high of 37 percent in March of 2007 to the current level of 11 percent as of today.

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