Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
is a clear front-runner in New Hampshire, while low favorability ratings from Granite State voters have left Donald Trump back with a crowded pack of Republican presidential hopefuls, according to a Suffolk University/7News (WHDH-TV) poll of likely voters nine months before the New Hampshire Primary.
• Romney dominates the field of 18 names and is favored by 35 percent of those polled. The highest percentage that any possible opponent secured was in the single digits. Among Granite State Republican Primary voters, Romney’s favorable rating is a commanding 65 percent, while 22 percent of respondents view him unfavorably.
• Donald Trump, Rudolph Giuliani and Ron Paul all received 8 percent in the Suffolk University/7News poll of New Hampshire primary voters. Sarah Palin garners 7 percent; Mike Huckabee, 6 percent; and Tim Pawlenty, 5 percent. Michele Bachmann gets 3 percent, as does Newt Gingrich. Other potential candidates divvy up the rest, and 13 percent of respondents remain undecided.
• Trump received a dismal 27 percent favorable rating, while 56 percent of respondents view him unfavorably. Sarah Palin’s unfavorable rate also was high, but at 46 percent was much less than Trump’s, and 42 percent of those polled viewed her favorably.
“Today, Mitt Romney is the clear front-runner in the New Hampshire Republican Primary – but front-runner status has its drawbacks,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “He will quickly become the target, and like Hillary Clinton a year before the 2008 party primaries, being positioned as the ‘inevitable’ nominee is often followed by a decline in the polls.”
Meanwhile, on the issue of healthcare, 86 percent of likely Republican Primary voters felt that universal health care should be repealed (52 percent) or modified (34 percent). Despite this, a majority of respondents (53 percent) said that Romney’s involvement in helping to pass Massachusetts’ universal health care law would not affect their decision to vote for him.
“New Hampshire Republicans tend to look at issues a bit differently than others in the country, so Romney’s not out of the woods on the health care issue,” Paleologos said. “But, given the influence of New Hampshire’s Presidential Primary and that independents and new voters who register at the polls may choose a Republican ballot, it’s beneficial to Mitt Romney that these voters are not holding his Massachusetts healthcare legacy against him.”
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