New Hampshire primary: Mitt Romney and the expectations game

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is already busy playing the expectations game in today’s New Hampshire presidential primary.

“Oh I hope that we do well,” Romney told reporters in the Granite State this morning. “I note that if we get double the number of vote margins that we had in Iowa I’d feel terrific.” (Romney won Iowa by eight votes over former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. See what Mitt did there?)

But, a look at entirety of polling conducted in the New Hampshire since mid-October — and thanks to the folks at pollster.com/Huffington Post we have that below — suggests that something short of a double-digit victory could be painted as an underperformance.

It’s worth noting that Romney’s number has been dropping since late last year as other candidates engage more seriously in the state.

And, where Romney’s bar should be set has always been something of a moving target. Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was a hugely popular figure in the Granite State, won 49 percent in the 2000 primary but the race was much less crowded than this one. A better measure may be the 37 percent McCain took in the 2008 New Hampshire primary. (Romney finished second with 32 percent.)


Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

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