Before the results of the Iowa Caucuses (search) had been counted, Howard Dean (search) held a modest lead over John Kerry and Wesley Clark in the race for the Democratic nomination in New Hampshire.

These findings are based on the 2004 New Hampshire Primary Tracking Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. This survey is sponsored by FOX News, WCVB-TV Boston, and WMUR-TV Manchester. Three hundred forty (340) likely New Hampshire primary voters were interviewed between January 17 and January 19, 2004. The potential sampling error for the survey is ±5 percent.

Before they had heard the news that John Kerry had won a stunning victory in Iowa, New Hampshire Democrats still preferred Howard Dean over Kerry, Clark and the other Democratic challengers. Currently, 33 percent of likely Democratic primary voters prefer Dean, 24 percent prefer Kerry, 18 percent favored Clark, 8 percent support John Edwards, 5 percent support Joe Lieberman, 3 percent support Dick Gephardt (who subsequently dropped out of the race), 3 percent prefer Dennis Kucinich, and less than 1 percent support other candidates. Six percent of likely Democratic primary voters remain undecided.

Kerry’s strategy to campaign hard in Iowa appears to have paid off as support for Kerry has risen in New Hampshire as it rose in Iowa. Clark’s decision to bypass Iowa also looks like a wise choice as he is very close to Kerry for second place in the Granite State. Dean, while still leading, must find a way to recover from his surprising third place finish in Iowa.

Strength of Support

The race in New Hampshire is still very fluid. Only 51 percent of likely Democratic primary voters saying they will definitely support their candidate. Clark enjoys the firmest support among the top three candidates – 63 percent of Clark supporters say they will definitely vote for him compared with 54 percent of Dean supporters and 48 percent of Kerry supporters. When voters were asked who their second choice would be, they were split between Clark (23 percent), Kerry (15 percent), Dean (14 percent), Edwards (14 percent) and Lieberman (10 percent).

Subgroup Analysis

Kerry leads Dean among registered Democrats by a 31 percent to 27 percent margin while Dean leads among undeclared voters (independents) who will vote in the Democratic primary by 33 percent to 20 percent over Kerry. This should be helpful to Kerry as registered Democrats have historically voted at higher rates than independents.

Dean runs strongest among young voters, newcomers to New Hampshire and those who have lived in New Hampshire between 11 and 20 years and among residents of the Connecticut valley. Dean also does well among voters strongly opposed to the US war in Iraq. Kerry’s strongest support comes from strong Democrats and older voters. Support for Clark is balanced across political and demographic groups.

New Hampshire Democratic Primary:

Clark Dean Edwards Gephardt Kerry Kucinich Lieberman Sharpton Other DK (N=)
January 17-19 18% 33 8 3 24 3 5 0 0 6 338