Barack Obama has a healthy lead in PPP's newest poll of New Hampshire, quite a shift from the polls we did in the state last year. He's at 53% to 41% for Mitt Romney. When PPP last looked at the general election in the state, July, Romney was up 46-44. In April of last year Obama led by just a 47-46 margin.
Obama's improvement comes thanks to an equation that's become familiar in our polling over the last few months: he's more popular than he was for most of last year, and Romney's a good deal less popular. Obama's approval is a 52/45 spread, up 10 points on the margin from 46/49 last July. Romney's meanwhile gone from having a slightly positive favorability rating at 43/42 to quite a negative one at 40/54. His numbers with Republicans have improved but he's gone from 25/58 to 8/89 with Democrats and from 43/40 to 38/53 with independents.
The Democratic Party is unifying around Obama. 10 months ago he had only an 82-12 lead with Democrats in the state but that's now 93-5. Independents have flipped from supporting Romney by 11 points at 46-35 to supporting Obama by 11 points at 50-39. Republicans have basically stayed in place, giving Romney 82% last summer and 82% now.
New Hampshire provides yet another example of Romney's struggles with women and young people. He trails 58-35 with women, more than offsetting his narrow 48-47 advantage with men. And he's down 59-29 with voters under 30, a more than 2:1 ratio with those who've already made up their minds.
There's been a lot of discussion the last few weeks about Kelly Ayotte as a potential running mate for Romney but she wouldn't make much of a difference. With her on the ticket Obama's lead just drops by a couple points to 52-42. Ayotte isn't all that popular in the state with 43% of voters approving of her and an equal 43% disapproving. Her predecessor Judd Gregg is more popular with a 44/35 favorability rating. But he wouldn't make a difference either with his hypothetical presence on the ticket still leaving Romney at a 52/41 disadvantage.
Gary Johnson gets 7% when included as a third party candidate in New Hampshire. He draws a little bit more from Romney than Obama, increasing the President's lead in the state to 13 points at 51-38.
Since Obama's at 93% of the Democratic vote and Romney at just 82% of the GOP vote, Romney has a lot more room to grow in New Hampshire over the next six months. But Obama's got a good cushion in the state and the change compared to a year ago is pretty remarkable.
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