New GOP poll shows four-way dead heat

01/14/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Early voting began today throughout Florida in advance of the Jan. 29 primary.

Although the Democratic race has lost much of its luster, 57 delegates will be apportioned to the Republican who takes the state.

A new poll out today says any one of four Republicans could win in Florida.

Peter Brown is assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute. He said the Poll shows McCain with 22 percent, Guilian at 20, and Romney and Huckabee at 19 percent each.

It’s dramatically different than what Quinnipiac polls showed all through 2007 when Rudy Guiliani dominated. Not now. The former New York City mayor has dropped 8 points in the last month.

John McCain is the candidate of the moment in GOP ranks. His victory in New Hampshire has catapulted him to the top of several new national polls, and he should be competitive in the primary states of Michigan and South Carolina in the next week.

But in the Quinnipiac Poll in Florida, McCain’s tentative lead is the softest of the top four Republicans. Only 42 percent of his voters say they are unlikely to change their minds, a smaller number than any of his three main rivals.

The poll shows little movement on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton has a 52-to-31 point lead over Barack Obama in Florida. John Edwards is a distant third with only 9 points.

This race will be nothing more than a beauty contest, though, because the Democratic National Committee has already said it will not count the votes in Florida – a penalty for the state moving up its primary to later this month. Pollster Peter Brown says this is not much of a difference than what his polls have said over the last year.

Closing out the poll, both Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel get 1 point each.

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