Public Policy Polling Media Alert: Romney holds wide early lead for 2012 NH primary

Mitt Romney continues to look like the overwhelming early favorite for the 2012 Republican primary in New Hampshire, leading with 41% to 12% for Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, 10% for Mike Huckabee, 8% for Ron Paul, 5% for Tim Pawlenty, and 2% for Mitch Daniels.

The best news in the poll for Romney is that at least in New Hampshire he has a strong advantage with every different faction of the party. With voters who identify themselves as Tea Party members he leads Palin 36-18. He also has a 29-18 advantage over her with people who think the GOP's too liberal. At the same time he's up 47-15 on Gingrich with people who think the party's just fine ideologically and he leads Ron Paul 47-10 with moderates. It says a lot about where the Republican Party is headed that centrist voters think Paul is their second best option.

There's been a lot of talk in the aftermath of the Delaware primary this week about whether that's bad news for a Romney Presidential bid but at least for now, before millions are spent to attack him, he's looking pretty solid.

The New Hampshire primary is still almost a year and a half away but Romney's persistent dominant lead in the polling makes you wonder- if that holds is New Hampshire even going to be viewed as that relevant to the 2012 nomination contest? If his status as the rare New England Republican Presidential candidate makes it impossible for anyone else to build momentum there the state may just get written off with everyone reallocating their resources to Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, and Florida.

But if there's anything we've learned this cycle it's that big leads in Republican primaries can evaporate quickly so Romney certainly shouldn't start counting his chickens yet.


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