Huge congratulations to Suffolk University and the Boston Globe for crafting a poll in New Hampshire that actually offers an interesting bit of news.
The story of the Republican primary in the state has largely been the same for months, with Donald Trump holding a steady and robust lead. In the Real Clear Politics polling average, he's up 15 points. In Suffolk's new poll, he's up 10 -- but with a healthy-sized number of undecideds.
Trump is trailed by Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who are all clustered between 9 and 11 percent.
But then Suffolk and the Globe added something to the mix. If we added Mitt Romney to the list, they asked, would you switch to him? For 30 percent of respondents, the answer was "yes." Romney leads all other Republicans by a two-to-one margin. Trump loses a third of his support.
When news of this survey first came out over the weekend, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver noted that this reinforced the idea that much of Trump's support comes from name recognition. Give voters another name they know, and that name gets a lot of support, too.
In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, the focus of the campaign has shifted to foreign policy and the threat posed by the Islamic State. Suffolk asked about that, too, showing part of the reason that Trump continues to do well: A quarter of respondents think Trump is the best candidate to handle the terror group. Slightly more people think he'd best be able to address the Islamic State than support him for president, while Ben Carson gets far less support for his ability to deal with the group than he does support for his candidacy in general. In other words: It's likely a point of weakness for Carson.
For some lamentable reason, how New Hampshire Republicans think Mitt Romney would deal with the Islamic State was not one of the questions.