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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 03:20 PM ET, 01/09/2012

Poll watcher: Romney slips in N.H.; Paul and Huntsman battle for second place

Mitt Romney’s wide lead in New Hampshire has shrunk in the past week, according to the Suffolk/7News tracking poll.

After holding 41 percent support less than a week ago, Romney earns 33 percent in surveys conducted on Saturday and Sunday, giving him a 13-point edge over Texas Rep. Ron Paul. The latest University of New Hampshire polling also shows a drop off for Romney, but still show him leading by more than 20 percentage points in Tuesday’s primary.

In the race for second place (should Romney win), Paul is the current favorite, garnering between 16 and 20 percent among likely voters, but several polls find rising support for Jon Huntsman in the past week. Huntsman’s high watermark is 17 percent in an American Research Group poll released Sunday. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are tussling for fourth place.

Dissatisfaction with candidates – A Pew Research Center survey released Monday finds a bare majority of Republican voters (51 percent) rate the GOP candidates as “excellent” or “good,” down from 68 percent who said this four years ago. Positive ratings of the Republican field are unchanged following last week’s Iowa caucuses, the first contest in the primary race.

The lack of enthusiasm among Republican partisans resembles the Democratic primary campaign in 2003 and 2004. In that cycle, fewer than half of Democrats rated their field of candidates positively.

Florida shines on Romney – A Quinnipiac poll of likely primary voters released Monday finds Romney leading the field with 36 percent, followed by Gingrich at 24, Santorum at 16, Paul at 10, Perry at 5 and Huntsman at 2. Over half of voters say they could still change their mind, including majorities of Romney, Gingrich and Santorum supporters.

Roughly six in 10 or more Republican voters have a favorable view of Romney, Gingrich and Santorum, but ratings of Paul tilt negatively, 47 percent unfavorable to 34 percent favorable.

Gingrich falls, Santorum and Romney rise in national polls –Gingrich wins support from 17 percent of Republican registered voters in Gallup tracking polls completed Sunday, far from his peak of 37 percent in early December. Santorum is the biggest beneficiary, rising from 3 to 18 percent in a two-week span that includes his near victory over Romney in the Iowa caucuses. Romney has also made gains, rising above 30 percent for the first time in Gallup polling this cycle. New polls from Pew and CBS News echo these findings, though Gingrich’s drop and Romney’s rise are less pronounced in the CBS results.

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By  |  03:20 PM ET, 01/09/2012

Categories:  GOP nomination, Voting, 2012 polls, 2012 polls

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