NEW HAVEN, Conn., 4:30 PM — The New Hampshire primary is expected to be a close contest next week, but if students at the University of New Hampshire were the only ones voting, it might not be very close at all. Despite an eight-candidate field, Senator Barack Obama did more than just win a plurality of votes at UNH. He won more votes than the other seven candidates put together.

In the university’s pre-primary mock election last month, fifty-five percent of students supported the Illinois senator, far outpacing Senator Hillary Clinton, who claimed 17 percent, and former Senator John Edwards, who finished third with 13 percent.

Among the Republicans, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani topped all candidates with 29 percent of the vote, followed by Senator John McCain (20 percent) and Rep. Ron Paul (19 percent).

The mock election was conducted in December just before students at UNH, the largest university in New Hampshire, left for their Christmas vacation. More than 2,400 students voted in total.

The poll might seem like good news for the Obama camp. The only problem: UNH students are enjoying their winter recess until Jan. 22.

– Thomas Kaplan