Polls: Romney clear front-runner on eve of NH primary
January 9th, 2012
10:35 AM ET
2 years ago

Polls: Romney clear front-runner on eve of NH primary

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – With one day to go until the Granite State's first-in-the-nation primary, two new polls indicate Mitt Romney remains the clear front-runner, with Rep. Ron Paul of Texas in the second spot in both surveys.

According to a Suffolk University/7 News daily tracking poll released Monday morning, 33% of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters say they are backing Romney for their party's nominee, with 20% supporting Paul, the long time congressman from Texas who's making his third run for the White House. Romney's lead in the tracking poll has shrunk over the past four days.

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The survey indicates that former Utah Gov. and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is at 13%. Huntsman skipped the Iowa caucuses, which were held last Tuesday, and is spending virtually all of his time campaigning in New Hampshire, hoping that strong finish will propel him on to South Carolina.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who finished a disappointing fourth in Iowa, is at 11%, with former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 10%. Santorum finished a strong second in last week's caucuses, losing to Romney by just eight votes. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is skipping campaigning in New Hampshire to concentrate on South Carolina, is at one percent.

The latest edition of the tracking poll was conducted Saturday and Sunday, both before and after the doubleheader of debates in the Granite State Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Romney has a larger lead over Paul and the rest of the field in a WMUR-TV survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire. The poll, released Sunday night, indicates Romney at 41%, with Paul at 17%. Romney is very well known here in New Hampshire. He was governor of neighboring Massachusetts for four years last decade, and was often on Boston TV, which much of the heavily populated southern New Hampshire receives. Romney also owns a vacation home in the Granite State and has spent lots of time over the past six years in the state campaigning for himself or for fellow Republicans.

According to the WMUR poll, Huntsman and Santorum are tied at 11%, with Gingrich at 8% and Perry at one percent.

Both surveys indicate a large pool of people either undecided or likely to change their minds about whom they are backing. With the primary a day away, Andy Smith from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center told WMUR that "this race is wide open, maybe not at the top, but certainly for the second slot."

The WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday, mostly before and partially after the back to back debates, with 461 likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

The Suffolk University/7 News tracking poll was conducted Saturday and Sunday, with 500 likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Also see:

Santorum to South Carolina: 'Step up'

Romney feared being fired

Paul looking forward to South Carolina, caucus states

Perry makes play for Christian voters in South Carolina

Democrats maintain focus on Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • Polls
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. fyi2day

    Hey New Hampshire, the media says Romney has already won.
    Shock them on Tuesday!
    Vote Ron Paul for Freedom!

    "Video killed the radio star" in the 1980's
    Let's hope the Ron Paul Revolution and a free internet can do the same to the corporatist consolidated media machine. It is time to break them up or put them out of business.
    Don't let them, through their lobby and our own corrupt or misguided politicians, pass SOPA under the guise of protecting us from piracy. It is a ruse as much as slipping Martial law provisions into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In ten years, the Patriot act and NDAA has killed the Bill of rights and the 4th and 5th Amendments. Don't let the SOPA bill kill the 1st amendment as well. The terrorists are not the threat to America!
    Vote Ron Paul 2012, you and your neighbor's freedom depends on it. Make sure you tell them! The MSM is counting on the fact we won't educate each other. We must come out of our shells on this!

    This is not a left or right issue. This is a fundamentally foundational American issue, which Paul is offering the only correct alternative. Without our freedom nothing else matters. Don't be distracted by lesser issues. Good luck with your research and please vote! Yours in Liberty!

    January 9, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    The Boston Globe endorsed Huntsman. I believe Willard is in for a shock tomorrow. Between Ron Paul & Huntsman, it's going to be a tight race. Willard, you may win this primary by only 8 points.

    January 9, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Fortunate for President Obama that GOP/Tea Party voters are blind to the fact that they have a strong candidate in Huntsman who can attract independents and moderates.

    January 9, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Gurgi

    Romney would definitely be better than Obama, but I think a better ticket would be either Santorum/Rice or Huntsman/Rice. Man wouldn't the heads be exploding on both sides of the isle then!!!

    January 9, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Steve, New York City

    Romney is rather dull.
    While Obama is FAR from innocent, with respect to the sad state of our country's economic condition, Romney's jabs at Obama are disingenuous and below the belt, as Romney bluntly ignores that his best friend George Bush # 43 left us in shambles.

    January 9, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Muldoon in Ohio

    You know, I watches a few minutes of the recent republican debate, and I could swear it looked like a bunch of democrats debating, what with the discussion around taxing the rich, social security, gay rights, and abortion. I'd swear these chameleons are migrating their positions to a moderate republican agenda to compete with the Romney.

    January 9, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Too bad he isn't really a strong candidate. I don't think he can beat Obama, at all. He doesn't have enough strength of message, nor charisma to get that job done.

    January 9, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. westward

    NH – home of anti-war Independents – the fact that you are even considering Romney after he has repeatedly and clearly gone on the affirmative for a traditional war on Iran is mind-boggling. Especially given the fact that we still have not funded, only financed, the 2 Bush wars...because we couldn't afford THEM.

    January 9, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. castyourvote2012

    Regardless of what you may think of them, as of this morning Mitt Romney has the most votes for being the next President and Rick Santorum has just barely pulled ahead of Ron Paul for second with votes coming in pretty fast. Who do you think the next President should be? The votes are rolling in and the results are quite surprising. Make a difference. Participate in the 2012 Ebay United States Presidential Election Poll and cast your vote. Go to Ebay and Search for 2012 Ebay Poll, pick your candidate and vote. It is that simple. Proceeds to help benefit the American Red Cross.

    January 9, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    fyi2day has it just right. Ron Paul is the only answer to our eroding liberty- the most important issue of them all. The republicrats don't want him, and fear a third party run. Whether Dr. Paul runs third party or not, I will write him in. No longer will I be stampeded by the 'wasted vote' rubric. I am a mother, USAF vet, well-educated, middle-class, middle-aged woman who is starting to fear my own government. Anyone who knows me would laugh at a description calling me 'lunatic fringe'. "It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from it's government."– Thomas Paine

    January 9, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Ryan Scarola

    Remember what happened to Hillary Clinton and the NH polls in 2008!

    January 9, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Patriot Awesome

    Since Obama rips off republican ideas (that they suddenly hate when he embraces them) I'd like to see Ron Paul get the nomination so Obama can take his good ideas like end the war on drugs & stop policing the world.

    January 9, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |