Two new polls, one from The New York Times and CBS News and the other by The Washington Post and ABC News, show John McCain at the head of the Republican race nationally. The same polls also show Barack Obama closing the gap with rival Hillary Clinton, who still maintains a lead, though by a much smaller margin than previously.


Washington Post:

The big gains by McCain (Ariz.), which come after his victory in the New Hampshire primary, mark the first time he has topped the Republican field in a Post-ABC News national survey. His rise mirrors a dramatic tumble for former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who led most national polls throughout 2007.

Giuliani, who finished well back in both Iowa and New Hampshire, ranks fourth in the new poll at 15 percent. McCain, meanwhile, has more than double the support he had a month ago and now stands at 28 percent among likely GOP voters. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who scored a big victory in the Iowa caucuses, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the runner-up in both early contests, sit just above Giuliani, at 20 and 19 percent, respectively.

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New York Times:

On the Democratic side, Senator Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa has improved his standing within the party on a critical measure: his electability. The percentage of Democrats who say he would be the strongest candidate against the Republicans has more than doubled in a month, to 35 percent from 14 percent in December.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won her party’s primary in New Hampshire, still has an edge on electability, a substantial advantage on experience — the central selling point of her campaign — and leads among Democrats nationally. But Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama are now viewed by Democrats as almost equally qualified on a variety of measures, including the ability to serve as commander in chief.

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