A new poll released Monday evening gives President Obama a significant, 15 percentage-point lead among likely voters in New Hampshire, as the gap in motivation between his supporters and backers of Republican challenger Mitt Romney closes. But both candidates continue to advertise and campaign there, indicating that they believe the Granite State's four electoral votes are still in play.
The poll, conducted for Manchester-based WMUR-TV by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, shows Obama leading Romney, 54 percent to 39 percent. Three percent of likely voters prefer another candidate, and 4 percent are undecided.
Voters not registered with either party make up the plurality of New Hampshire's electorate, and the poll shows they have swung towards Obama, 54 percent to 38 percent.
Men are split nearly evenly, 48 percent for Obama and 45 percent for Romney. But Obama holds an overwhelming lead among female voters, 60 percent to 33 percent.
Any enthusiasm gap enjoyed by Republicans has vanished, the poll shows. Among those voters who have definitely decided for whom they will vote, Obama leads by a staggering 20 points. And among those who say they are "extremely interested" in the election, Obama leads by 12 points.
A majority of likely voters, 56 percent, have a favorable impression of Obama, compared to only 39 percent who view Romney favorably. A 54-percent majority views Romney unfavorably.
The previous WMUR-TV Granite State Poll showed Obama with a narrow lead, 45 percent to 40 percent, though that poll did not allocate undecided voters who leaned to one candidate or the other. Without leaners, the new poll shows Obama leading by the same 15-point margin, 52 percent to 37 percent.
Other polls in the Granite State have showed a closer race. A poll conducted last week by the Manchester-based American Research Group showed Obama 5 points ahead, while an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll conducted earlier last week showed Obama up by 7 points.
The WMUR poll was conducted Sept. 27 to 30 and surveyed 600 likely voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.
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