7NEWS/Suffolk University Poll Shows Impact of Oprah Winfrey’s Endorsement Limited
BOSTON – With the New Hampshire Presidential Primaries less than four weeks away, Hillary Clinton’s lead has slipped, and she now leads Barack Obama by just seven points, according to a 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll released today. In last month’s 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll, Clinton led Obama by 12 points.
In the Republican race, today’s poll shows that Mitt Romney remains in front, while John McCain has surged into second.
Thirty-three percent of likely voters in the Democratic Primary support Hillary Clinton, while 26 percent chose Barack Obama, and 15 percent selected John Edwards. Nineteen percent were undecided.
“Obama trails by single digits and is well within the statistical margin of error,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “But the line has been drawn: Obama leads among men, independents and younger voters, while Clinton is well ahead among women, registered Democrats and older voters. Second-tier candidates are seeing their support rotate into the undecided column. The highest ratio of undecided voters were between 46-55 years of age, of whom 25 percent could not pick a candidate.”
Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement did not significantly change the Democratic race in New Hampshire. While 97 percent of likely Democratic Primary voters were aware she had endorsed Obama, just 7 percent said the endorsement would make them support Obama, while 88 percent said it would not. When the same voters were asked whose endorsement was worth more – 56 percent said Bill Clinton’s while just 19 percent said Winfrey’s. In addition, 74 percent of likely Democratic voters said that they would not vote for Winfrey if she were a candidate for president.
In the Republican Primary, Romney (31 percent) slipped since the last 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll on Nov. 28, 2007, but still topped a surging McCain (19 percent), who moved past Rudy Giuliani into second place. Giuliani (17 percent) also lost ground while Mike Huckabee (10 percent), whose national support has grown dramatically, gained 3 percent since the November poll.
“With Curt Schilling pitching and The Manchester Union Leader going to bat for him, John McCain is coming off the injured list and may well see action in the games that follow New Hampshire,” said Paleologos. “McCain’s comeback and Huckabee’s rise from bench warmer to slugger come at the expense of Romney and Giuliani.”
Romney’s decline may be due in part to a disagreement about the role of religion in government. When likely Republican voters were asked if freedom requires religion, as Romney claimed in his speech on “Faith in America” last week, 55 percent said no, while 34 percent said yes. And when asked if there should be complete separation of church and state, 53 percent said yes, and 35 percent said no.
When voters from both party primaries were asked who is the most candid, McCain topped both fields with 15 percent, followed by Obama (13 percent), and Clinton (11 percent). Yet, when all voters were asked whom they believed would be the next president, 28 percent said Clinton, followed by Romney (11 percent), Obama (11 percent), and Giuliani (10 percent).
The 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll was conducted from Dec. 9 to Dec. 11, 2007. All Democratic interviews were conducted Dec. 10-11. The margin of error for each party subsample of 300 respondents is +/- 5.65 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. The 600 respondent margin of error is +/- 4 percent. All respondents were likely primary voters for the New Hampshire presidential primary on Jan. 8, 2008. Charts, marginals and 205 pages of cross-tabulation data are available on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site. For more information, please contact David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, at 781-290-9310.