McCain Lead Growing in New Hampshire

The three latest published surveys of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire show John McCain widening his lead over Mitt Romney, with all other candidates far back in the pack. The Concord Monitor/Research 2000 poll has McCain up six, 35 percent to 29 percent. The CNN/WMUR/UNH survey shows McCain up 33 to 27. Just in this morning, the MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon poll has it at McCain 32, Romney 24.

RealClear Politics averages several recent polls (which is dubious methodologically but nonetheless useful for getting a sense of the aggregate numbers) and puts McCain up 5:

New Hampshire Republican Poll Numbers

More interestingly still, here’s the trend analysis:

New Hampshire Republican Poll Numbers - Trend Lines

McCain’s support has doubled while Romney’s has taken a slight downturn over the last three weeks or so. Most of McCain’s gain, interestingly, seems to have come at Rudy Giuliani’s expense rather than Romney’s.

If the final tallies roughly approximate these results, McCain gets a huge boost and Romney would seem to be on the ropes.

Romney remains the favorite to win Michigan, where his father was governor, but the recent polling is all over the place. He’s no better than second in the polls, though, in any of the other early states (although he’s in a statistical dead heat in Nevada with Rudy Giuliani). At some point, one would think that he’d lose interest in spending his hard-earned personal fortune on a quixotic bid.

And finishing dead last can’t do much for Fred Thompson, who’ll have to decide whether to press on to South Carolina (where he’s essentially tied for third with McCain and well behind Huckabee and Romney) or call it quits.

Mike Huckabee has the lead in South Carolina, is essentially tied for first in Florida, and has the momentum to see what happens on Super Tuesday.

Giuliani, despite slipping in the national polls and being a non-factor in most of the early states (indeed, quite possibly finishing behind Ron Paul in Iowa and New Hampshire) still has plenty of money and is leading in comfortably in California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and leads Huckabee by a whisker in Florida.

Ron Paul is a non-factor everywhere, if the polls are to be believed — and he certainly didn’t help himself with a lackluster performance in last night’s debate. But he’s got a boatload of money and has no reason to give up his platform until and unless they eliminate him from the debates.

This one doesn’t look to be wrapped up any time soon.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Yeah you need to ask where that boat-load of Ron Paul money is coming from and it ain’t kids. Try the VNN Forum and see if you can find any of his supporters there.

  2. Tano says:

    Some little birdie is whispering in my ear that Mitt is going to win NH. Given the McCain buzz of the past couple of weeks, this will be a body blow to him.