Clinton, Romney have vulnerable leads in NH

From yesterday's Boston Sunday Globe:

Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Hillary Clinton remain the clear front-runners in the New Hampshire presidential primary, but both have vulnerabilities that could erode their support among voters in the weeks ahead, a new Boston Globe poll indicates.

Two months before the New Hampshire primary, Romney leads his nearest rival, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, 32 percent to 20 percent, with Senator John McCain of Arizona third at 17 percent. Among Democratic voters, Clinton, the New York senator, leads Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, 35 percent to 21 percent, with former senator John Edwards of North Carolina third at 15 percent.

The primary contest in both parties remains highly fluid - just 16 percent of likely Republican voters said they had definitely decided whom to back; among likely Democratic primary voters, only 24 percent are firm in their choice. And neither Clinton nor Romney has closed the deal with their party's voters, the poll suggests.

"It's still really open," said Andrew E. Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which conducted the Globe poll.

In the Democratic race, Clinton's lead has narrowed 9 points since September, when a CNN/WMUR poll conducted by UNH showed her with a 43-to-20 percent advantage over Obama. Among Republicans, Romney has reestablished the lead over Giuliani that he enjoyed in the summer, after the same September poll showed the two candidates neck and neck.

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