Romney Wins New Hampshire Straw Poll

Bookmark and Share At a meeting of New Hampshires State Republican Committee, a straw poll sponsored by WMUR-TV and ABC, found former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney a big winner. (see poll results below)

Among a field of more than 21 names, Romney polled 35%, a 24% lead over his nearest opponent, Ron Paul, whose second place showing was a bit of a surprise.

Out of 493 state committee members 429 members showed up but only 273 participated in the straw poll. Still, the results of this poll indicate that Romney has a large pool of favorability among the activists within the Party who are crucial to a campaigns organizational ability and ground game in New Hampshires Republican Presidential Primary. Those voting in the poll are for the most part, the leaders of the local GOP organizations within the state.

The main purpose of the state committee meeting was to elect a new Republican State Chairman to replace the retiring chair, John Sununu. The hotly contested race pitted the establishment of the Party against TEA Party insurgents. Sununu and the establishment supported Juliana Bergeron while a loose coalition of TEA Party members and libertarians supported businessman Jack Kimball. Kimball won by 23 votes.

The results of the race for State Party Chair made the results of the presidential straw poll even more interesting than usual. By all rights Romney should have won. New Hampshire is in his own backyard and he has been making his presence in the state quite well known for more than two years now. But the fact that he polled so far ahead of his nearest possible rival, in a crowd of voters that were largely professing anti-establishment sentiments and elected a TEA Party backed Chairman, is an indication that Romney may be more viable among TEA Party voters than some have thought.

Supporters of Romneys opponents downplayed the poll results and even suggested that Romney did not do as well as should have. But the result most striking here was Mike Huckabees 12th place showing. In the 2008 primary, both Romney and Huckabee were beaten by John McCain. McCain pulled 38% to Romneys 32% and Huckabees 11%. This time around, at least among the states activist Republicans, Tim Pawlenty snatched third place with 8% and Huckabee was beaten by Atlanta Radio Talk Show host Herman Cain and lumped together with Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum and Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence. All polled 3%.

Like Romneys first place showing, Tim Pawlentys third place showing was an encouraging sign that his recent level of high activity is helping gain traction in Granite States important early primary. As for Ron Paul, his second place showing is a bit deceiving. While it puts him at the head of the pack, the 11% of the vote that got him there, is representative of his extremely dedicated base. But it is also representative of the number he usually peaks out at, as he fails to expand significantly expand his base.

With exception of a small contingency of Santorum, Pawlenty, and Cain supporters who braved the cold and snow to hand out leaflets and Dunkin Donuts munchkins, none of the other campaigns had a presence at the event. Most straw polls usually feature aggressive campaigning before the ballots are passed out. But this WMUR-ABC poll was announced only a few days in advance, giving the campaigns little time to coordinate a push among the state committeemen voting in the contest.

Complete Poll Results:

  1. Mitt Romney Former Massachusetts Governor 35%
  2. Ron Paul Texas Congressman 11%
  3. Tim Pawlenty Former Minnesota Governor 8%
  4. Sarah Palin Former Alaska Governor, 2008 GOP Vice Presidential Nominee 7%
  5. Michele Bachmann Minnesota Congresswoman 5%
  6. Jim DeMint South Carolina Senator 5%
  7. Herman Cain Tea Party Speaker & Former C.E.O. 4%
  8. Chris Christie New Jersey Governor 3%
  9. Rick Santorum Former Pennsylvania Senator 3%
  10. Mitch Daniels Indiana Governor 3%
  11. Newt Gingrich Former U.S. House Speaker 3%
  12. Mike Huckabee Former Arkansas Governor 3%
  13. Mike Pence Indiana Congressman 3%
  14. Rudy Giuliani Former New York City Mayor 2%
  15. Judd Gregg Former NH Senator 2%
  16. Gary Johnson Former New Mexico Governor 2%
  17. Other 2%
  18. Donald Trump Real Estate Mogul 1%
  19. Haley Barbour Mississippi Governor 1%
  20. Jon Huntsman Jr. U.S. Ambassador to China 0%
  21. John Thune South Dakota Senator 0%
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4 Responses

  1. Uh, look at how many tea party candidates of one brew or another are on that list. They just split the vote. Romney and Pawlenty are the only ones of that sort, so they split that vote, with Romney getting more.

  2. “Sununu and the establishment supported Juliana Bergeron while a loose coalition of TEA Party members libertarians supported businessman Jack Kimball.”

    Does this mean that the Ron Paul Block supported Kimball?

    • I can’t be sure of how many from the so-called “Ron Paul Block” were a part of the loose coalition that helped elect Kimball, but those that didn’t endorsed the status quo of the Party which they normally foam at the mouth about.

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