Romney Surges, Perry Falls, Huntsman Surprises In New Hampshire Poll
Mitt Romney is far and away the leader in the New Hampshire primary right now, but a new poll has an interesting uptick in support for a candidate most people had written off:
Well, here are a couple of — no, make that several — new wrinkles in the Republican presidential contest in New Hampshire:
With the next televised debate tonight in Florida on Fox News, a new poll of likely New Hampshire Republican voters shows Mitt Romney surging to a commanding 27-point lead over his closest GOP rival, who is not Rick Perry.
The Texas governor, whose mid-August entry saw him rush to the top of numerous national Republican polls, was pushed way down in the new Suffolk University Poll to fourth place deep into the single digits, barely ahead of the not-even-running Sarah Palin.
But here’s a surprising, potentially significant development for the New Hampshire contest. Jon Huntsman, who’s been swimming around the bottom of the field like a foraging flounder barely registering in most polls, has himself surged.
He’s moved all the way up to 10% and third place — ahead of Perry.
According to the new Suffolk University/7News poll of 400, the field there now stacks up this way:
Romney at 41%, up five points since June; Ron Paul at 14% and Huntsman at 10%, both up six points since June; Perry 8%; Palin 6%; Michele Bachmann 5%; Newt Gingrich at 4%; and Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer both at 1%.
Romney’s lead is no surprise. He came in second to John McCain back in 2008 and probably would have won the state than but for McCain’s ties to the independent voters in the state who had helped him in there in 2000. Additionally, Romney’s spent much of the past four years campaigning in and building relationships in the Granite State. What’s more interesting is Perry’s fall and Huntsman rise, which appears to be mostly attributable to the fact that Perry has not appealed to New Hampshire independents, who can vote in the primary and have been known in the past to influence the outcome on Election Day. According to the poll internals (PDF) Romney has the support of 34% of independents, Ron Paul gets 19%, Jon Huntsman gets 13%, and Rick Perry gets just 10%. If nothing else, this is an indication of the electability problems that others have raised about Perry in the past have merit. Unless he’s able to attract Independents, Perry is going to have a tough time winning a General Election.
In any event, this is at least some glimmer of good news for Huntsman, who has concentrated virtually all his resources on the Granite State. It probably guarantees that he’ll continued to be invited to debates for the time being, which isn’t necesarily a bad thing because there have been occasions in the past few where he’s been one of the lone voices of reason on some issues.