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Poll shows first lady's lead growing


Voter attitudes toward Rick A. Lazio have turned markedly more negative since June, with suburban women now moving solidly toward Hillary Rodham Clinton and many New Yorkers saying Lazio came across as harsh and inexperienced in his debate with Clinton last week, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The survey, which began Sept. 14 and was completed Tuesday night, suggested deterioration in Lazio's standing at the time that most politicians believe that voters are beginning serious consideration of the choice before them in the race for Senate.

Clinton now has a nine-point lead over her opponent, with 48 percent to Lazio's 39 percent. The remaining voters are undecided or are supporting other candidates.

In the last Times/CBS poll, taken in June, Clinton had a five-point lead over Lazio, who had just entered the race.

When the undecided voters were encouraged to express which way they were leaning, and their probable votes were added to the totals, Clinton broke the 50 percent barrier in the most recent poll, leading Lazio by 51 percent to 41 percent.

The poll was taken starting the evening after the debate in Buffalo. Nearly half of the poll respondents who saw the debate pronounced Clinton the winner.

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