Dean’s Still the One; Clark Moves Up; Kerry Falls to Third

1/14/2004

BOSTON, MA – Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean continues to be the front-runner in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, while retired General Wesley Clark has surged into second place and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is holding on to the third spot, according to an exclusive 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll of likely Democratic voters released today.

When asked, "if the Democratic Primary election for President were held today, toward whom would you vote or lean," 32% of likely New Hampshire Democratic voters selected Dean, 17% chose Clark, while just 12% picked Kerry. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman polled 11% with 17% of respondents undecided or refusing to say whom they support.

"The biggest threat to Howard Dean right now is clearly Wesley Clark," said David Paleologos, Director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University. "If independents ambush the Democratic primary, Clark has an excellent chance of closing the gap or even overtaking Dean."

According to the latest 7NEWS-Suffolk University survey, Dean topped Clark 41%-14% among registered Democrats, but only led Clark by a 23%-20% margin when it came to independent voters. Currently, unenrolled voters easily outnumber registered Democrats in New Hampshire and have the option of participating in either party primary.

"Given that there is no major Republican primary, it is expected that many more independents or unenrolled voters will enter the Democratic primary on Tuesday, January 27," said Paleologos. "These independent voters could be Clark’s soldiers of fortune."

In other findings from the 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll, Dean’s unfavorable rating topped 30% for the first time in five surveys due to the recent attacks by other candidates. Yet, when asked, "if Howard Dean is too blunt," 62% indicated "no," while

28% said "yes." And when asked, "if the capture of Saddam Hussein makes you feel safer," just 21% said "yes," while 76% indicated "no."

"Howard Dean needs to be Howard Dean again," said Paleologos. "He needs to forget about endorsements and focus on the bread-and-butter issues that got him to where he is. New Hampshire voters have validated his stance on Iraq, his contention that America is still unsafe, and his unique, tell-it-like-it-is style."

Democratic voters expect George Bush to be the next President of the United States. When asked, "who do you expect the next President to be," Bush led the way with 40% of Democratic respondents, followed by Dean (19%), and Clark and Kerry (6% each).

The most important issue among Democratic voters continues to be the economy (28%), followed closely by health care (25%), education (15%) and the war on terrorism (10%).

The 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll was conducted January 12-13, 2004. The margin of error is +/- 4.9% at a 95% level of confidence. All 400 New Hampshire respondents indicated they were Democratic voters and likely to cast a ballot on Primary Day, January 27, 2004.

Suffolk University is scheduled to release highlights of its survey in chart form on Wednesday, January 14, 2004. Cross-tabulation data totaling 180 pages will be released on Thursday, January 15, 2004, and one-page candidate summaries will be posted daily thereafter on the Suffolk website (www.suffolk.edu). For more information, please contact Suffolk adjunct professor David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.

Suffolk University will be conducting daily tracking surveys, which will be reported each day at 6:30 a.m. on 7NEWS Today in New England beginning January 19, 2004. The survey results will be broadcast on WHDH-TV with Political Editor Andy Hiller and posted on the Suffolk University website (www.suffolk.edu) and the WHDH-TV website (www.whdh.com).

7NBC (WHDH-TV) is Boston’s NBC Network affiliate, a Sunbeam Broadcasting station, and "the News Station" delivering the market’s leading source for breaking news, special reports, features and critical information: 7NEWS!

Suffolk University, located on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, with campuses in Madrid, Spain and Dakar, Senegal (Africa), is a comprehensive global institution distinguished by its teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty. Suffolk offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 70 areas of study. Its mission is to provide quality education at a reasonable cost for students of all ages and backgrounds, with strong emphasis on diversity. Suffolk has a combined enrollment of more than 7,500 full-time and part-time students at its Law School, College of Arts and Sciences and Sawyer School of Management.

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