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Poll Shows Edwards, Kerry Gaining In New Hampshire

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CONCORD, N.H. — Presidential candidates John Kerry and John Edwards have had a pretty good week, not only in Iowa, but also in New Hampshire.

The latest tracking poll has both men on the rise, partly because some voters are moving away from Howard Dean, a pollster said Sunday.

After months of struggling to get his campaign off the ground in New Hampshire, Kerry has jumped 9 percentage points in six days in an American Research Group poll that places him third, behind Dean and Wesley Clark.

Edwards, who finished fourth at 8 percent, saw a five-point rise in the same period as Kerry.

Dean was at 28 percent, followed by Clark with 20 -- just one percentage point more than Kerry.

The poll showed Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman at 6 percent, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt at 3 percent, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich at 1 percent and the Rev. Al Sharpton at less than 1 percent. Fifteen percent were undecided.

The latest telephone poll of 425 Democrats and 185 undeclared voters was taken Jan. 15-17 and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Pollster Dick Bennett, of the Manchester-based group, said it appears that more voters are moving away from Dean toward Kerry, Clark and Edwards.

"People are now saying: 'Oh, maybe Dean doesn't have it locked up,'" Bennett said Sunday. "What they're looking for is a winner. And there's nothing better to prove you're a winner than winning."

Bennett said the expectation is that Kerry will win Iowa, which certainly would give him a boost in New Hampshire.

Supporters of the Massachusetts senator attribute the rise in support to the looming deadline of the Jan. 27 primary. Now, they say, New Hampshire voters are taking the race seriously, and they don't want to take a gamble with a candidate without a proven record.

"People are really paying attention to the candidates," said Jim McConaha, who has supported Kerry since he met him a year ago at a house party in Concord. "They're looking at them hard and seeing flaws in Howard Dean and Wesley Clark."

McConaha, 62, said Kerry "has really cranked himself up. He's been able to cover a lot more territory and voters than he was before."

A spokesman for Edwards' campaign attributed his increase to the national press Edwards' has gotten in Iowa for running a positive campaign.

Tait Sye, of Edwards' New Hampshire office, said he has been fielding more phone calls, visitors and volunteers in the past week.

"People here see (Iowa), and they want to go see him, or they want to read an article about him the next day," Sye said. "The momentum just kind of carries."

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