(CNN) - Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who has largely plugged his campaign resources into New Hampshire, said Saturday that GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney better not count on his popularity in the state as a solid path to primary victory.
"There's nothing that guarantees somebody with high name recognition, like Gov. Romney, is going to carry this without a fight," Huntsman said in an interview with television station WMUR, a CNN affiliate in New Hampshire. "I do believe that name recognition only means so much."
Three new polls measuring support in the Granite State this week showed Romney with a commanding lead, hovering around 33%-40% among likely Republican primary voters.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul competed for a distant second place that failed to climb above 22% of support.
Meanwhile, Huntsman has slowly been creeping up in the polls, but still struggles to break into the double digits.
Still, Huntsman, who has logged more than 105 public events in the state since he launched his campaign June 21, said he's confident of his underdog candidacy and hopes to speed up his momentum before voters take to the polls January 10.
With New Hampshire holding an open primary where voters don't have to vote with their registered party, Huntsman said he's also counting on appealing to independents and even some Democrats.
"What we don't want to have happen is 15 minutes of fame," Huntsman said. "I want to make sure that the work we have done results in a good, steady, substantive rise - that our rise will be sustainable, not ephemeral."
– CNN's Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.