Clark has a fourth straight day of two-point gains in the ARG New Hampshire tracking poll. Dean and Lieberman stay even, while Kerry drops another point.
Current figures (Monday’s numbers in parens)
Dean 35 (39)
Clark 20 (12)
Kerry 11 (14)
Lieberman 8 (6)
Gephardt 5 (6)
Since Monday, Dean’s lead over Clark has shrunk from 27 points to 15 points, and Clark has gone from 2 points behind Kerry to 9 points ahead.
To compete with Dean for first — which would have seemed like an insane thing to even consider five days ago, but doesn’t now — Clark has to close the gap among women and among younger voters:
Wesley Clark continues to gain on Howard Dean among men. Dean now leads Clark 30% to 28% among men. Earlier in the week, Dean had an 8 percentage-point lead over Clark among men. Among women, Dean now leads Clark 40% to 13%. Dean had a 36 percentage-point lead over Clark among women earlier in the week.
Clark is also gaining among undeclared (independent) voters planning to vote in the Democratic primary. As is the case with Democrats, Clark’s strength is among older (age 45 and older) voters, while Dean continues to do well among younger voters.
ARG also reports what seems to be some serious ugliness, reinforcing the idea that Dean and Bush have more in common than four-letter Anglo-Saxon last names, privileged upbringings, Yale, and grandmothers who knew each other:
Over the past 2 days of calling, a number of older respondents registered as undeclared voters have reported that they have received telephone calls from a campaign informing them that they will not be allowed to vote in the Democratic primary because they missed the deadline to switch parties. A respondent discovered, however, that when she told the caller that she was thinking about voting for Howard Dean, the caller told her that she would be eligible to vote.
Update Atrios and Josh Marshall point out that such charges ought to be view skeptically until confirmed, and Josh in particular finds the ARG account of what happened hard to parse.
Second update Josh follows up, and the story makes sense. Still no way of telling who did it. But it seems certain that someone has been falsely telling New Hampshire independents, who disproportionately favor Clark, that they can’t vote in the primary, and in at least one case telling a voter something else when the voter said he favored Dean.