Romney Holds Big Lead in NH

Our old friend David Paleologos and Suffolk released a poll yesterday detailing Mitt Romney’s continuing big lead in New Hampshire over the rest of the Republican field. I have watched as national polls continue to show a surging Rick Perry, but obviously the real interest should be in the state by state polling. On that basis the Paleologos work here is a piece of a multi-state puzzle that will show the way to the Republican nomination. And Mitt Romney is very much alive and well as we dissect that puzzle.

In New Hampshire Paleologos shows Romney with an imposing lead, with 41% of the total vote, followed by Ron Paul at 14%, and Jon Huntsman at 10%. Romney has actually grown his vote by 5% since the last Suffolk survey, and his lead is 27%. In the lower tier stands Rick Perry at 8%, Sarah Palin at 6%, Michelle Bachmann at 5%, Newt at 4%, and Santorum at 1%. It looks like I will have to stop asking when Huntsman will break 4%, as he has surged over the top in the Granite State.

So where is the big surge in New Hampshire for Rick Perry? Are the results here indicative of a Perry candidacy that has strong regional appeal, but not enough national strength to defeat Barack Obama if he is the Republican nominee? New Hampshire has been trending Democratic in recent Presidential cycles, but has swung back strongly Republican in the last state election cycle, with Republicans sweeping both Houses of the State Legislature. It is in play in 2012, with Republicans hoping to bring it back into the fold in the Presidential race. Perry’s performance here will be watched closely. If the Mittster can win Iowa, and then crush Perry here his 2008 strategy may ultimately be the one that unfolds for him in 2012. It would certainly give him a big boost of momentum heading South, where his reception could be a bit cooler than it will be in NH. What is Mitt’s strategy in Iowa? If the numbers show him having a shot at Iowa then I think he should invest some resources, and look to deliver an early one-two to Governor Perry.

What has happened to Bachmann, who has turned a big Ames straw poll win into sinking poll numbers everywhere? The Perry entrance has marginalized her candidacy, and her former campaign manager Ed Rollins has said that she does not have the resources to compete beyond Iowa. Her Iowa performance will have important ramifications for the nomination fight, and she has to be holding down the Perry numbers in that State. Her continued candidacy, I think, portends well for Mitt.

Read the Suffolk Press release here.

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