Mitt Romney Picks Up Ground in New Hampshire as McCain Leads GOP

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 16, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitt Romney Picks Up Ground in New Hampshire as McCain Leads GOP Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 16
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — California recently pushed up its presidential primary to February but Iowa and New Hampshire are still the first two states and will have a large bearing on who captures the nomination for each party. In a new poll in the Granite State, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has picked up significant ground.

Franklin Pierce College and WBZ-TV conducted the survey March 7-11 of 400 likely Republican presidential primary voters.

The poll finds Arizona Sen. John McCain, who recently signaled his desire to see the Roe v. Wade decision overturned, leading the field. Meanwhile, pro-abortion ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani comes a close second with 28 percent.

However, the surprise of the poll is Romney, who has been third in others but has risen to 22 percent.

After months of languishing in the mid-teens or lower, Romney’s support as risen even as questions about the sincerity of his position change on abortion remain.

R. Kelly Myers of Franklin Pierce College said Romney’s rise in the polls is because he’s actively courting conservative voters and is trying to solidify his relatively new pro-life views.

"There’s been a lot of concerns about his flip-flopping on issues, a lot of people have raised that, this may be an indicator that he’s starting to overcome that and establish more conservative credentials with voters," he told WBZ.

Myers said the poll shows GOP voters favor Romney on the issues while Giuliani and McCain get higher ratings on leadership and experience.

"John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are not natural conservatives, and Romney does very well among self-identified conservatives," Myers said.

The polls have shown the Romney rise over the month of February and early March.

A CNN New Hampshire poll had the race as McCain 28, Giuliani 27 and Romney 13 in early February. By late in the month, the numbers moved to Giuliani 37, McCain 27 and Romney 17.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has five percent, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has two percent and Sam Brownback and other candidates have one percent each. Some 9 percent of Republicans were undecided.