Clinton has increased her lead over Obama in New Hampshire according to a new CNN/WMUR poll.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to have lengthened her lead among likely New Hampshire primary voters after last week's debate among Democratic presidential candidates, winning points for being strong, even if she's not necessarily the most likeable, a poll said Monday.
The CNN/WMUR presidential primary poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, placed the senator from New York at the front of the pack, supported by 36 percent of likely voters versus 22 percent for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, her closest rival. (Read full poll results [PDF])
Since April, Clinton's support has grown by 9 points - from 27 percent, the poll said. Obama's position has grown by just 2 points - from 20 percent - in April.
Most of those increases appear to have come at the expense of Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, whose support tumbled from 21 percent in April to his current 12 percent.
Former Vice President Al Gore, who has not said he is running, tied Edwards at 12 percent, up from 11 percent in April. And New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson garnered 10 percent, up from 4 percent in April. The rest of the field included Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, with 4 percent; Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, with 1 percent; and Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, each of whom garnered less than 0.5 percent.
Clinton fell behind when it came to likeability. Asked which candidate is most likeable, likely voters cited Obama (40 percent) nearly three times as often as Clinton (14 percent). Clinton also trailed Edwards (20 percent) while Gore attracted 9 percent and Richardson 6 percent.
But the former first lady fared considerably better when likely voters were asked which candidate is the strongest leader. She led the pack, with 48 percent, followed distantly by Gore and Obama - each with 12 percent - and then Edwards, with 6 percent.
Asked which candidate has the best chance of beating the Republican nominee in November's general election, Clinton again came out on top, with 37 percent, more than double the 15 percent garnered by Obama and more than triple the 12 percent who cited Gore or the 10 percent who cited Edwards.
Since the April poll, Iraq gained in importance, with 57 percent citing it as the most important issue that will affect their vote in the primary, up from 39 percent.
Health care was cited by just 8 percent, down from 21 percent in April. The economy also attracted 8 percent, down from 11 percent in April.
New Hampshire holds the nation's first primary, part of the process by which the Democratic and Republican parties select their candidate for the general elections, to be held in November 2008.
The telephone poll of 309 Granite State residents who say they will vote in the primary has a sampling error of plus-or-minus 5.5 points. It was carried out Wednesday through Sunday, after the June 3 debate among Democratic presidential candidates, which was sponsored by CNN, the New Hampshire Union-Leader and WMUR-TV.