Romney is Sitting Pretty in New Hampshire and Looking Good in 2012

Mitt Romney Wins SouthernBookmark and Share NHJournal.com commissioned a January 4th poll of 1,451 likely, New Hampshire Republican voters and discovered that at the moment Mitt Romney has an extremely commanding lead over the field of all his potential primary opponents.

The poll by Magdella Data and Mapping Strategies, gave Romney a 23 point lead over his closest potential rival, Sarah Palin.

Results broke down this way;

  1. Mitt Romney – 39%
  2. Sarah Palin – 16%
  3. Mike Huckabee – 10%
  4. Ron Paul – 7%
  5. Tim Pawlenty – 4%
  6. Rick Santorum – 3%
  7. Haley Barbour – 1%

Romneys substantial lead is an encouraging sign that this time around, with the McCain campaigns of 2000 and 2008 out of the equation, he has the inside track on winning the first in nation primary.

With the field of opponents still developing and a years worth of campaigning still ahead, this is merely a snapshot of this moment, not Primary Day, but one still meaningful result that comes out of the poll for Romney is his favorable rating which stands at a whopping 73% and his favorables beat all others in all categories.

This indicates that the next in line form of Republican presidential contests is shaping up so far. The G.O.P. typically nominates the next in line. At least since Eisenhower, the person who has paid their dues in previous years and primaries, usually gets the nod. It was the case with Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole and even McCain, who ran close in 2000 and after the second term of G.W. Bush, was the next in line in 08.

In 2012, Romney finds himself in that position and at least in New Hampshire, it looks good for Romney to keep the tradition going.

At the same time, this all puts the pressure on Romney more than any of his potential rivals. As the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, he should be in the lead in New Hampshire and with his maintaining of a high approval rating he can maintain that lead but it will take work if people like Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour <ike Huckabeee and/or Sarah Palin start eating away at it.

For now, the key for Romney will be not just taking New Hampshire but winning the first presidential contest which takes place in Iowa, followed by the third and fourth contests which will take place in Nevada and the ever important prelude to the race in the Southern states, South Carolina. The former Massachusetts Governor is in good position in Nevada but he has his work to do in Iowa and South Carolina.

For Romney to be successful in 2012 he is going to have build up a lot of early steam and the best way for him to do that will be by taking all four of the first contests. Wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will position him as a candidate with strength in all regions and the frontrunner whose race this is to lose. This set up will be critical for Romney if he intends on holding his own in the South, where he is probably his weakest at the moment.

If Romney can establish himself as the clear frontrunner before the Southern Super Tuesday contests, he should still be in good shape coming out of them. But if Romney goes in to them after faltering in places like Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina, he will be in trouble. For the time being though, New Hampshire is giving Romney some signs of hope.

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