Posted: January 7, 2008 1:31 PM
Candidates Canvass N.H. in Last-Minute Vote Push
With opinion polls showing a shifting race for Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary vote, presidential hopefuls are getting aggressive in the Granite State —some hoping to ride their momentum from the Iowa caucuses, while others are looking to regain lost footing.
Caucus winners Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Republican former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have been pounding the pavement across the state, shaking hands and making campaign appearances as they work to harness the “Iowa bounce” from their Thursday victories.
“Huckabee appears to be on the restaurant circuit, with stops at Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason, the Barley House and Bread & Chocolate in Concord and an evening rally in Rochester,” the New York Times reported.
Although Huckabee trounced his opponents in the Iowa caucus, a repeat performance in New Hampshire is far from guaranteed.
New Hampshire is a far more secular state than Iowa, where Huckabee was bolstered by a high number of evangelical Christian supporters. Instead, Arizona Sen. John McCain is leading the GOP pack headed into the primary. Recent polls show McCain ahead of Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“There are indications that Huckabee has moved up sharply among Republicans nationally since the Iowa vote,” a new Gallup poll reports. “But the weekend poll in New Hampshire shows little sign that Huckabee has been able to transform his Iowa victory into anything approaching the type of surge seen for Obama among New Hampshire Democrats.”
The Gallup survey put McCain at 34 percent, up from 27 percent in mid-December, while Romney had 30 percent, down from 34 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was third with 13 percent, while Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani were tied at 8 percent, according to the Associated Press.
Obama, enjoying fresh momentum from his Iowa win, leads rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., 41 to 28 percent among Granite State voters, the Gallup poll found. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards had 19 percent while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had 6 percent.
Over the weekend, major candidates participated in the Facebook/ABC News/WMUR New Hampshire debates. Republicans sparred over tax and spending records while Obama and Edwards teamed up to attack Clinton on her message for change.
Romney, who was victorious in Wyoming’s GOP primary Saturday, touted his own business experience against that of McCain, “Citing his record as a venture capitalist, Olympics CEO and governor, Romney said, ‘I’ve been in the economy. I’ve been in the real world,’” the AP reported.
Huckabee defended McCain, calling out Romney for his attack ads on the two candidates.
Edwards and Obama formed their own team against Clinton, asserting that her long leadership record only makes her part of the Washington status quo.
“Both of us are powerful voices for change,” Edwards said, according to the AP. “And if I might add, we finished first and second in the Iowa caucus, I think in part as a result of that.”
After Saturday’s debate, Clinton stuck to her message of experience.
“There’s a big difference between talking and acting, between promising and performing. Over the next three days, I’m going to be making that case,” she told New Hampshire voters on Sunday, the AP reported.
Despite New Hampshire’s current prominence, not all candidates are focusing on the state. GOP hopeful and former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., is all but ignoring the contest, launching his South Carolina bus tour Tuesday while New Hampshire voters head to the polls.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who finished sixth in Iowa, is spending time campaigning in New Hampshire, but his campaign’s primary focus is on Florida and the states voting Feb. 5.