Romney takes huge lead in New Hampshire primary poll

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Mitt Romney is a strong frontrunner in New Hampshire, leading his opponents by over 30 percentage points, according to a poll released today by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies for the NH Journal.

The survey of 727 likely Republican primary voters found that if the election were held today, 42 percent would vote for Romney. Tying for a very distant second place are Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, with 10 percent of the vote each.

Conducted in the days following the first Republican primary debate in New Hampshire, from June 14 to June 15, the candidates’ performance in that debate is possibly a factor.

What might make it even more of a factor is the order in which the questions were asked. Question 15 of the poll was whether or not respondents had watched the debate on Monday night. Question 16, for the 54 percent who did, was who they felt did the best. Question 18 asked respondents whom they would vote for. That means that voters quite likely had the debate, and the candidates’ performance there, in mind when they thought about who they would vote for.

Of the 54 percent of respondents who said they watched the debate, 39 percent said Romney had the strongest performance, while 28 percent gave that honor to Bachmann.

(Pawlenty says could have, should have gone after Romney in debate)

New Hampshire residents have mixed feelings on the current field of Republican candidates. A plurality, 48 percent, said they were somewhat satisfied. 37 percent called themselves extremely or very satisfied.

They may not be over the moon about him as a candidate, but New Hampshire residents tend to have a high opinion of Romney in a state where he has 100 percent name recognition (91 percent hard name ID). 69 percent said they had a favorable opinion of Romney, and just 22 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him.

As GOP 2012 blog pointed out, the poll is not necessarily good news for Tim Pawlenty, since “already his unfavorables are higher than Romney’s, even though he’s much less well-known.” 27 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of Pawlenty, who has 71 percent hard name ID.

The poll was conducted using automated phone calls and has a plus or minus 3.63 percentage point margin of error, a 95 percent confidence interval, and is weighted based on voter turnout demographics from the 2008 presidential primary.