Mitt’s Still The Man In New Hampshire

New Hampshire Republicans still like Mitt Romney.


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.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tillman says:

    New Hampshire Republicans must be an abused lot.

  2. Slugger says:

    I need some help here. On Wednesday, this site reported that Obama had a 37% approval rating in a poll with clear implications that this was devastating news. The photo heading that report showed Obama hanging his head like his dog just got hit by a truck. Now you report that 24% of Republicans, not the general public, support Mitt, and this means that he is ” still the man.” This is less than two-thirds of Obama’s support in a population one would presume to be predisposed to like him (Repubs in New Hamster).
    I know that this is no head to head comparison, but if I were a handicapper I’d consider this a poor showing on the home court.
    Please do not interpret this comment as in any way marking my evaluation of these two men.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Slugger: The Obama polling is Yay/Nay–it’s a bivariate, closed question. Getting less than half is bad in that situation. By contrast, Romney is getting a quarter of the positive responses in an open-ended poll. That’s good!

    Romney is a likable enough guy and I think he’d make a competent, perhaps even a very good, president. But he’s not a natural politician and he’s demonstrated himself to be a really bad campaigner on the national stage. I don’t see how he turns that around and gets a second chance in 2016.

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Note that it wasn’t N.H. that Romney was governor over, it was Massachusetts. And the Massachusetts people don’t seem that interested in watching Romney try for another round.

    Out of morbid curiosity to see how often he could flip positions again, it would definitely be amusing.

    I could do without Princess Ann, however.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    “Live Free with a Car Elevator, or Die”

  6. Slugger says:

    Mr. Joyner:
    You and I are in complete agreement. The numbers are not comparable, and I stipulated this in my initial effort. I also agree completely with your second paragraph.
    NH is not far from Mass, and there are plenty of commuters to Boston even.
    For me to take Mitt seriously as a candidate he would have to kill it in his backyard, not have three out of four vote for somebody else.