January 14, 2008 - Four-Way GOP Horse Race Among Florida Likely Voters, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Clinton Leads By 21 Points Among Democrats

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Four candidates are running neck and neck in the Florida Republican presidential primary, while New York Sen. Hillary Clinton retains a 52 - 31 percent lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic "beauty contest," according to a Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters released today.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has 22 percent of Republican likely primary voters, with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at 20 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 19 percent each, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson has 7 percent, with Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 5 percent.

Sen. McCain shows the largest movement since Quinnipiac University's December 20 likely voter survey, picking up 9 percentage points from his fourth-place 13 percent showing. Giuliani has lost 8 percentage points from his then first place 28 percent in the December survey.

Despite her loss in the Iowa caucuses and narrow New Hampshire victory, Sen. Clinton's 43 - 21 percent December 20 lead over Sen. Obama is virtually unchanged. Former Sen. John Edwards is the big loser, getting 9 percent compared to a 19 percent showing in December.

"The Republican race is a dead heat with all four major contenders within three points for first place. What happens in the coming days in the Michigan and South Carolina primaries will likely have major effect on which of the four wins Florida," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"These numbers can't be good news for Mayor Giuliani who has staked his entire campaign on winning Florida and whose lead has evaporated. Giuliani is showing the negative effects of poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, while McCain's jump is not unexpected given his New Hampshire victory," Brown added.

"Sen. Clinton, despite her third-place finish in Iowa and narrow win in New Hampshire, retains a very large lead in the Democratic race. She leads Obama 56 - 30 percent among women."

Sen. Clinton's lead looks even more formidable when voter preferences are analyzed based on the likelihood they will change their minds. While 75 percent of Clinton voters say they are unlikely to change their minds, only 61 percent of Obama voters feel that way.

McCain's very narrow lead appears even flimsier when similarly examined. Only 42 percent of his voters say they are unlikely to change their minds, a smaller number than any of his three main rivals.

"Although McCain has the momentum, he is a long way from having closed the sale. Conversely, those voters still with Giuliani are the most committed as a group to any of the four leaders," said Brown.

Because Florida scheduled its January 29 primary outside the window allowed by the Republican and Democratic National Committee rules, the Democratic primary will award no delegates; while the GOP haul will be half its normal allotment.

From January 9 - 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 419 Florida likely Democratic primary voters, and 421 likely Republican primary voters, each with a margin of error of 4.8 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data -- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x271.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

1. (If registered Democrat) If the 2008 Democratic primary for President were being held today, and the candidates were Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, and Barack Obama, for whom would you vote? (If undecided q1) As of today, do you lean more toward Clinton, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich or Obama.? *This table includes Leaners.
                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Tot     Men     Wom
 
Clinton                 52%     45%     56%
Edwards                  9      11       8
Gravel                   1       1       -
Kucinich                 1       1       1
Obama                   31      33      30
SMONE ELSE(VOL)          1       4       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)         -       -       -
DK/NA                    5       4       5
 
TREND: (Likely Dem Primary Voters) If the 2008 Democratic primary for President were being held today, and the candidates were Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, and Barack Obama, for whom would you vote? na = not asked
                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Jan 14  Dec 20
                        2008    2007
 
Clinton                 52      43
Edwards                  9      19
Gravel                   1       -
Kucinich                 1       1
Obama                   31      21
Biden                   na       3
Dodd                    na       2
Richardson              na       2
SMONE ELSE(VOL)          1       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)         -       -
DK/NA                    5       9
 
 
1a. (If express choice in primary) How likely is it that you could change your mind? Very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, not likely at all?
                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS...............
                                                CAND CHOICE IN PRIMARY 
                        Tot     Men     Wom     Clinton Obama
 
Very likely              5%      6%      4%     5%      4%
Smwht likely            26      26      26      19      35
Not too likely          19      19      18      20      19
Not likely at all       50      47      51      55      42
DK/NA                    1       2       -      1       - 
 
TREND: (If express choice in Democratic Primary) How likely is it that you could change your mind? Very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, not likely at all?
                        
                        LIKELY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Jan 14  Dec 20
                        2008    2007
 
Very likely               5      9
Smwht likely             26     34
Not too likely           19     21
Not likely at all        50     36
DK/NA                     1      -
 
 
2. (If registered Republican) If the 2008 Republican primary for President were being held today and the candidates were Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson, for whom would you vote? (If undecided q2) As of today, do you lean more toward Giuliani, Huckabee, Hunter, McCain, Paul, Romney, or Thompson? *This table includes Leaners.
                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS
                                                WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Men     Wom     Evangls
 
Giuliani                20%     20%     19%     11%
Huckabee                19      17      21      32
Hunter                   1       2       -       1
McCain                  22      18      25      22
Paul                     5       8       3       3
Romney                  19      17      21      16
Thompson                 7      11       3       7
SMONE ELSE(VOL)          -       -       -       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)         -       -       -       -
DK/NA                    7       7       8       6
 
TREND: (Likely Rep Primary Voters) If the 2008 Republican primary for President were being held today, and the candidates were Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson, for whom would you vote? na = not asked
                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Jan 14  Dec 20
                        2008    2007
 
Giuliani                20      28
Huckabee                19      21
Hunter                   1       1
McCain                  22      13
Paul                     5       2
Romney                  19      20
Thompson                 7       8
Tancredo                na       -
SMONE ELSE(VOL)          -       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)         -       -
DK/NA                    7       6
 
 
2a. (If express choice in primary) How likely is it that you could change your mind? Very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, not likely at all?
                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS
                                                WtBrnAgn
                        Tot     Men     Wom     Evangls
 
Very likely              7%      8%      6%      9%
Smwht likely            39      39      40      41
Not too likely          18      18      18      19
Not likely at all       35      35      35      30
DK/NA                    -       -       1       1
 
                        CANDIDATE CHOICE IN PRIMARY ...
                        Giulian Hucka   McCain  Romney
 
Very likely              7%      6%     13%      5%
Smwht likely            34      37      44      43
Not too likely          17      25      16      22
Not likely at all       42      31      26      30
DK/NA                    -       1       1       -
 
TREND: (If express choice in Republican Primary) How likely is it that you could change your mind? Very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, not likely at all?
                        LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS
                        Jan 14  Dec 20
                        2008    2007
 
Very likely              7      12
Smwht likely            39      45
Not too likely          18      17
Not likely at all       35      23
DK/NA                    -       3