Yet another New Hampshire poll is out tonight, but this one deserves your attention. The CNN/WMUR survey was conducted on Friday and Saturday, providing the most accurate reading yet on how the Iowa results affected New Hampshire voters.
The poll finds Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton by 10 points, 39 to 29 — the first time Obama has opened a double-digit lead in the state in a reputable independent poll. On the Republican side, John McCain leads Mitt Romney, 32 to 26 percent.
Obama’s numbers may still be growing, since the full effect of the Iowa bounce has traditionally taken four to five days to register in New Hampshire polls. Or this may be the limit of it, if this year’s accelerated calendar — the window between Iowa and New Hampshire was cut from 8 to 5 days — speeds up the life cycle of the bounce.
There is a potential silver lining for Hillary, especially if this result is replicated in other surveys: Given her strong debate performance last night (and the fact that the debate will be rebroadcast on CNN tonight), it’s possible that she is stirring late movement back to her camp — movement that won’t be fully evident before Tuesday. And the value of any Clinton win on Tuesday will be amplified if she trails badly in these final polls.
On the Republican side, Romney remains within striking distance of the lead. But even before his Iowa loss, momentum wasn’t on his side in New Hampshire — and his uneasy debate performance last night probably didn’t help. Still, given how bad things have been for his campaign, it’s a small miracle that he’s only down by six.