A new poll by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard University and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading the candidate field by 18 points.
Romney has the support of 38 percent among likely voters in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, according to the poll. Businessman Herman Cain is favored by 20 percent and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul was preferred by 13 percent. All other candidates were polling at 5 percent or less.
The candidate ballot test appears far from settled; only 10 percent say that they are “definitely” voting for Mitt Romney, 6 percent say the same about Herman Cain — and only 14 percent report they are “very satisfied” with the field of candidates.
However, likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters appear confident of a Romney win over President Obama, with 72 percent saying Romney would win in a general election match-up with Obama and 20 percent saying the Obama would win.
“The real significant finding in this data is not so much who the frontrunner is at this point – Romney has been the frontrunner in this field for a while – but who is NOT in the top tier,” said Patrick Griffin, senior Fellow at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. “With Herman Cain showing surprising strength as the ‘Romney Alternative’ and a compressed primary schedule, Gov. Perry may be running out of time in New Hampshire.
“There is a lot more riding on (the Oct. 11) debate for Romney, Cain and Perry (in that order) today then there was yesterday,” Griffin said.
One-in-five (20%) likely Republican primary voters say they have met at least one of the candidates running for President in person (Romney has met the most voters by a margin of more than 3:1).
The poll’s 648 telephone interviews (landline and cell phone lines) with likely voters in the New Hampshire Republican primary for president were conducted between Sunday, Oct. 2 and Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.
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