Poll: Second place up for grabs in NH

Jan. 9, 2012 at 4:53 PM
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DURHAM, N.H., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney has a solid lead going into the New Hampshire primary but the race for second remains up for grabs, a New Hampshire poll released Monday suggests.

Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, holds a 24 percentage point lead over his closest rival, with 41 percent of likely Republican primary voters indicating they'd vote for him, the WMUR New Hampshire Primary Poll said.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul from Texas was favored by 17 percent of likely primary voters, followed by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, each with 11 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich collecting 8 percent.

Several polls indicated Gingrich would finish in the top three.

"All of the candidates behind Romney have a good chance finishing anywhere between second and fifth place," said Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center in Durham. "New Hampshire voters historically have made up their minds in the final days before the election and campaign activities in the final days matter, but this will be harder for Gingrich and Santorum as they are not running ads in the campaign's final days."

Results of the poll, sponsored by WMUR-TV and conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, are based on a telephone survey of 461 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters. The margin of error of the survey, conducted between Jan. 5 and Jan. 8, is plus or minus 4.6 percent.

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