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In Latest Poll, Good News for Both Clintons

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R), with wife Judith at left, greets a New Hampshire resident outside the Red Arrow Diner in a campaign stop in Manchester (see The Trail, A6). In a hypothetical matchup with Hillary Rodham Clinton (D), Giuliani trails the senator from New York 51 percent to 43 percent in the latest national poll. Video feeds of other candidates visiting the Red Arrow are viewable at (By Jim Cole -- Associated Press)
Competition Ahead

A Clinton-Giuliani race could produce a big gender gap. Men now split about evenly between the two, but Clinton's potentially groundbreaking candidacy draws heavy support among women, 57 percent to 39 percent.

Independents split their support: 48 percent for Clinton and 44 percent for Giuliani. But both have overwhelming support from members of their parties. Clinton, however, benefits from the fact that self-identified Democrats outnumber self-identified Republicans. The number of Americans who identified themselves as Republican is near a seven-year low in the new poll.

If Clinton is drawing on good feelings about her husband's presidency, Giuliani's candidacy is buoyed by memories of his performance after terrorists destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Almost nine in 10 Americans said Giuliani did an excellent or good job in the aftermath of the attacks, including 40 percent who gave him the highest mark. Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents rated his performance positively. Among those who give him an excellent mark, 64 percent said they support him, while 34 percent said they back Clinton.

While neither Clinton nor Giuliani can yet claim their respective nominations, Giuliani has made attacks on her a major focus of his campaign, as if to show Republicans that he hungers for a general-election contest against her. The latest came Wednesday, when he attacked her proposal to establish a $5,000 savings account for each child, comparing it derisively to a 1972 proposal by then-Democratic nominee McGovern to give every American $1,000.

The poll was conducted last Thursday through Sunday among a national random sample of 1,114 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

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