Romney still ahead in NH after GOP primary shake-up

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Despite the recent shake-up in the Republican primary field, Mitt Romney remains far ahead of his competitors in the New Hampshire primary, with newly minted candidate Rick Perry a distant second, according to a NH Journal/Magellan poll released Thursday.

Romney, who has long been the frontrunner in the first-in-the-nation primary state, nets 36 percent of the vote from likely Republican primary voters, exactly double Perry’s 18 percent. Ron Paul is in third at 14 percent and Bachmann takes fourth with 10 percent.

Few polls have been released since the race was shaken up last weekend — with Michele Bachmann winning the Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty dropping out after getting a distant third, and Rick Perry showing it all up by announcing his candidacy earlier that day — leaving room for speculation that Perry could unseat Romney as the frontrunner. A Rasmussen poll released Tuesday found Perry leading Romney nationally, 29 percent to 18 percent.

But in New Hampshire, though Perry enters at a strong second, Romney maintains his lead. He is also the most popular candidate in the state where he has 100 percent name identification, with 66 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of him and just 24 percent citing an unfavorable opinion.

Perry is also well-liked, though not as well-liked: 51 percent say they have a favorable opinion of him, while 27 percent have an unfavorable opinion. His name recognition is slightly lower than Romney’s, at 95 percent.

Paul, despite getting the third most votes in the poll, is not necessarily all that well liked, with just 39 percent of New Hampshire Republicans saying they have a favorable opinion of him, and 47 percent giving an unfavorable opinion. Perception of Bachmann is just the opposite: 49 percent favorable, 39 percent unfavorable.

Their performance in the straw poll does not seem to have helped either Paul or Bachmann much in the state. Though 86 percent of respondents said they had heard or read about who won in Ames, 84 percent said it would have no impact on which candidate they chose to support in the primary.

The poll was conducted by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies in partnership with the NH Journal. 613 likely New Hampshire primary voters were surveyed from August 15 to August 16 using automated calls. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.96 percentage points.