Politics & Government

New poll shows strong surge for Huckabee, tight race among Democrats

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has surged to a 12-point lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among Republicans in Iowa, and he leads in South Carolina, too, according to a new series of state-by-state polls for McClatchy and MSNBC.

With strong support from Iowa's evangelical Christians, Huckabee leads Romney, who'd led there until the past few weeks, by 32-20 percent. Iowa voters will caucus on Jan. 3.

In New Hampshire, which votes on Jan. 8, Romney holds a 25-17 percent lead over former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, but two weeks ago, his average lead in surveys was 16 points. Arizona Sen. John McCain has rebounded to 16 percent there.

Huckabee now leads in South Carolina, as well, 20-17 percent over Giuliani, with Romney at 15 percent and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson at 14 percent. Republicans there will vote on Jan. 19.

The GOP race remains volatile, however, with almost 20 percent of Republican voters in each of the three states still undecided.

On the Democratic side, the contest in Iowa remains close. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York has 27 percent in the McClatchy-MSNBC poll; Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has 25 percent; and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina has 21 percent. Only 11 percent of Iowa Democrats remain undecided.

In New Hampshire, Clinton now leads Obama by 30-27 percent, and Edwards trails with 10 percent. Some 19 percent of voters are undecided.

In South Carolina, Clinton leads with 28 percent, Obama has 25 percent, Edwards 18 percent, and some 24 percent are undecided. Democrats there will vote on Jan. 26.

In Nevada, where voters of both parties will hold caucuses on Jan. 19, Clinton led Obama 34-26 percent, with Edwards at 9 percent, and Giuliani led Romney 25-20 percent with Huckabee at 17 percent and all others in single digits. This survey, also by Mason-Dixon, was sponsored by the Las Vegas Review Journal, taken Dec. 3-5 and had an error margin of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

The McClatchy-MSNBC surveys, by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, Inc., were conducted Dec. 3-6 and have an error margin of plus or minus five percentage points.

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