Barack Obama jumps into the lead in New Hampshire

Updated: 2008-01-07 16:01

NASHUA - Democrat Hillary Clinton battled to keep crucial New Hampshire from swinging to rising rival Barack Obama on Sunday but new polls showed him jumping into the lead.

Democratic presidential candidate US Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) takes a question at a campaign stop in Nashua, New Hampshire January 6, 2008. [Agencies]

In the hotly contested Republican race, Arizona Sen. John McCain leaped ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney even as Romney tried to raise doubts about McCain.

Republican candidates engaged in a Fox News Channel debate on Sunday night.

Obama, an Illinois senator seeking to be the first black US president, built on his victory in Iowa last week with a significant bounce in New Hampshire, which votes on Tuesday.

New Hampshire's primary is the next battleground in the state-by-state process of choosing Republican and Democratic candidates for November's election to replace President George W. Bush.

A USA Today/Gallup poll said Obama had opened up a 13-point lead over Clinton in New Hampshire, 41 percent to 28 percent, to 19 percent for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

A WMUR/CNN tracking poll, taken over the weekend, showed Obama leading Clinton, 39 to 29 percent.

Earlier polls had shown the race to be a dead heat between Clinton and Obama.

A loss in New Hampshire would be a significant blow to Clinton in the New York senator's drive to become the first woman US president.

Trying to salvage New Hampshire, the former first lady engaged in some of her heaviest attacks against Obama in the months-long campaign.

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