Mitt’s Still The Man In New Hampshire
New Hampshire Republicans still like the idea of Mitt Romney for President:
Republican voters in New Hampshire are apparently still ready for Mitt.
According to a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll released Thursday, 24 percent of the likely New Hampshire Republican electorate would vote for Mitt Romney in the state’s 2016 GOP presidential primary. Every other potential candidate received less than ten percent of the vote, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie coming in second with just over nine percent.
When Romney was not listed as a possible candidate, Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul were the top vote-getters, at 11 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in third and fourth at 8 percent. But when the survey asked voters the same question but with Romney’s name added, the race became a blowout, with the former nominee receiving more than double the votes than any other candidate.
This is largely a reflection of several factors that are at play in New Hampshire in particular and in the GOP as a whole. First of all, Romney obviously still has a lot of goodwill among New Hampshire Republicans that goes back to his time as Governor of Massachusetts and his 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns. Putting his name on the list, even when there’s no indication that he’s seriously considering running, would obviously tap into that good will. Combined with this, there’s the fact that the Republican field for 2016 consists of basically just a bunch of speculative candidate none of whom are really all that well known on the national stage. As time goes on and those candidates spend more time in New Hampshire campaigning, the numbers without Romney will obviously increase and we’ll start to see a frontrunner emerge. Given how things have gone in the Granite State in the past, I’d suspect that the most likely breakthrough candidates there would be establishment candidates like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie or, possibly, a more unconventional candidate like Rand Paul. Finally, it’s appeared to me from this any other recent polls that, while Republican are enthusiastic when it comes to the midterm elections, they aren’t looking forward to 2016 nearly as much. Partly, of course, that’s because the Presidential election is still some time away. However, I’d also suggest that it’s an indication of Republican voters who recognize the party’s problems on the national level in Presidential elections and the fact that, even with some of her recent hits, Hillary Clinton still appears to be unstoppable. Given all of that, there doesn’t seem to be much of a desire to get behind any single candidate at the moment.
Eventually, one assumes that one or two of these candidates will emerge as frontrunners and the campaign will proceed forward. Of course, there’s always the possibility that all this whispering could cause Romney to reconsider and try for a third bid at the White House. That seems very, very unlikely, but given Romney’s continued efforts to keep himself part of the political conversation one does have to wonder if he isn’t at least thinking about it.