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NewsMax/Zogby: Romney Lead Falls in New Hampshire, Race Tightens

Tuesday, 02 Oct 2007 03:39 PM

A new NewsMax/Zogby survey shows the Mitt Romney lead in New Hampshire being cast aside, turning the state’s Republican nomination race into a cliffhanger featuring a clash of styles and substance.

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, still leads in the Granite State, but his lead is anything but rock solid, the NewsMax/Zogby poll of likely Republican primary voters shows. He wins 24 percent support, barely leading over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has the support of 21 percent. Arizona Sen. John McCain, once on political life support here, has recovered nicely and wins 16 percent support, while former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who gave up a successful Hollywood career to enter the race last month, wins just 7 percent.

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who has made a splash or two along the campaign trail in recent months, wins 5 percent support in the survey, while 17 percent of those likely voters in the poll said they have yet to make up their minds.

The survey, conducted Sept. 26–28, 2007, included 502 respondents likely to vote in the Republican primary election, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Romney retains a solid lead among conservative voters statewide, leading Giuliani among the “very conservative” by a 25 percent to 17 percent margin. The race is interesting among this smallish segment of the GOP voting bloc, as Thompson registers 13 percent support and Huckabee breaks into double–digits at 10 percent.

Republicans in New Hampshire – 2007 Sept. 28May 16Apr. 3Jan. 18
Brownback 1%1%<1%<1%
Not sure17%11%17%15%

Among mainline conservatives, Romney remains strongest, with a 27 percent to 19 percent edge over Giuliani. McCain, who wins just 2 percent support among the “very conservative,” wins 16 percent among mainline conservatives.

The race doesn’t change much when broken down by gender. Men are slightly more likely than women to support McCain, with Thompson and firebrand Ron Paul stealing some of Romney’s support among men.

Nearly three out of four — 73 percent — said there is a likelihood they could change their minds between now and the primary election, and nearly one in four — 24 percent — said that, in the last two months, they have changed their minds about whom to support in the race.

Romney leads among top-tier candidates in the percentage of supporters who said they “will definitely vote for that candidate,” with 31 percent. McCain is a close second, as 28 percent of his supporters say they are locked in, compared to 26 percent of Thompson voters and 21 percent of Giuliani voters who said their minds are made up.

Ron Paul has, by far, the most devoted, if very small, base of support — 73 percent of his backers said they are certain to vote for him in the primary.

Just 73 percent of Republicans said they were satisfied with the current field of candidates seeking the GOP presidential nomination, the NewsMax/Zogby survey shows, while 24 percent said they were not satisfied. Another 2 percent said they were not sure. Among conservatives, 77 percent were satisfied with the field, while just 67 percent of moderates were pleased.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Republicans — 86 percent — said they most want a candidate who stands up for what they believes, and 11 percent said they would instead prefer a candidate who can win the presidency. Asked if they thought the Republican candidate who stands up for what they believe can win the election, just 72 percent said “yes,” while 17 percent said “no.” Another 12 percent were unsure on the question. The more conservative the likely voter, the more certain they were that their candidate could win the election if they stood up for what they believed during the campaign.

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