FOX News Poll: Clinton Maintains Lead in New Hampshire

In the wake of a Manchester event featuring mega-star Oprah Winfrey touting Barack Obama’s candidacy, the latest FOX News poll finds that Hillary Clinton still narrowly leads the field of Democratic contenders in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, with Obama in a strong second position to challenge the former first lady.

With less than a month before the New Hampshire primary, some likely Democratic voters are still undecided and a significant number say they may change their minds before Election Day.

Click here to view full results of the poll (pdf).

The telephone poll was conducted for FOX News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 500 likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13. The poll has a 4-point error margin.

Clinton bests Obama by 9 percentage points, up from a 7-point advantage at the end of November. Clinton receives the backing of 34 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, Obama 25 percent and Edwards trails with 15 percent. Bill Richardson drops to 6 percent in the new poll from 12 percent last month (Nov. 27 to Nov. 29).

Among undeclared voters, Clinton leads the pack, as well, by garnering 30 percent to Obama’s 24 percent, and Edwards receives the backing of 19 percent.

Despite Winfrey's attending the Obama campaign event in the Granite State, Clinton still bests Obama among women voters; he has gained a small bit of ground — narrowing Clinton’s advantage from 9 points to 4 points in the current poll.

Younger women break for Obama over Clinton by 23 points; women over age 45 give the edge to Clinton by 12 points.

Clinton’s support among men improved this week from a 5-point edge over Obama to 15 points today.

"Hard as it is to say, many New Hampshire men may be taking a cue off Clinton’s recently resigned co-campaign chair Bill Shaheen," comments Opinion Dynamics CEO John Gorman. "Continued talk about Obama’s drug use and the possible general election damage that might cause are likely to impact men first, and hardest."

While more than half of Democratic voters say they are certain to support their candidate, many others — 32 percent — are less definite and say they may change their minds and support someone else. Clinton’s support is somewhat more solid, as 71 percent of her supporters say they are certain to vote for her, while 58 percent of Obama’s supporters feel that way.

Democratic voters in the Granite State are looking for a candidate who "can bring about change;" a 42 percent plurality says that is the most important quality for candidate to have — that’s twice as many as cite "understands average Americans" (21 percent) and "has the right experience" (20 percent).

Among "change" voters, Obama tops Clinton by 39 percent to 29 percent. For those saying experience is the most important candidate quality, Clinton tops Obama by 44 percent to 10 percent.

The Iraq war is the top issue in the race, closely followed by health care, and the economy comes in third. Among Iraq war voters, Clinton outperforms Obama by a slim margin: 31 percent to 26 percent. For those saying health care is the top issue, Clinton has a much clearer advantage and bests Obama by 41 percent to 19 percent.

The poll finds that majorities of Democratic voters would be satisfied if either of the frontrunners were to win the party’s nomination, though slightly more would be pleased if Obama were the nominee than if Clinton were chosen (76 percent and 71 percent, respectively).

Further, voters in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire are happy with their slate of candidates — fully 81 percent say they will be able to vote enthusiastically. On both Republican and Democratic sides, about 1 in 10 says he or she will have to hold their nose and choose a candidate.