Gov. Mitt Romney got a small jolt of campaign-trail caffeine on Tuesday, with the news that one of New Hampshire’s newspapers has switched from backing President Barack Obama four years ago to endorsing Romney in 2012.
“We are confident Romney is the candidate who would tackle the serious issues facing this nation, starting with jobs, the economy and the debt. In the end, we couldn’t say the same about the president,” read the endorsement from The Telegraph, based in Nashua, N.H.
“When we identified the key challenges facing the nation – jobs, the economy and the national debt – we concluded [Obama] was not the best candidate to meet them,” said the endorsement, published in the Oct. 31 edition.
The paper’s circulation is only 16,500, or one-third of the circulation of the state’s biggest newspaper, the Manchester Union Leader.
Real Clear Politics’ poll-tracking service shows Obama only 1 point ahead in the state, but with the trend skewing towards Romney.
That’s ominous for Obama, partly because Romney heavily outscored Obama during polls taken in late 2011.
Hurricane Sandy scrambled planned visits by Romney and Vice President Joe Biden to the state earlier this week. But Romney is scheduled to visit the state Nov. 5, the day before Election Day.
Obama won New Hampshire by nine points in 2008. The state has only four electoral votes, but they could be decisive if Obama and Romney split shares of the most-watched Midwest swing states.
GOP partisans are touting their slow progress in New Hampshire.
“While the Obama campaign would like to wish it is 2008, the reality is that they are now forced to ‘play defense’ in least six states (Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin) that they once believed were ‘safe’ Obama wins,” said a Tuesday memo from Romney’s political director. Rich Beeson.
However, Democrats scoffed at the GOP’s declarations of optimism, and pointed to polls showing Obama maintaining a narrow lead in Ohio, whose electoral votes would likely be enough to give Obama the win.
“4 times in October SurveyUSA has polled Ohio and 4 times Barack Obama has led. Obama has never polled below 45%, Romney never above 45%,” Brad Woodhouse, top spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, tweeted on Tuesday.