Romney Leads Republicans in New Hampshire, Ahead in Nevada

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 7, 2011   |   1:55PM   |   Washington, DC

New polls released in New Hampshire and Nevada reveal good new for the potential presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

The former governor and 2008 presidential candidate is the early frontrunner in the Granite State, where he lost to John McCain in 2008 in the primary that ultimately prepared the way for the Arizona senator to become the nominee.

The New Hampshire Journal poll, conducted by the Republican firm Magellan Strategies, shows Romney with a 23 percentage point lead over his closest competitor, pro-life former vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin.

The polling numbers break down this way: Romney 39%, Palin 16%, pro-life former candidate Mike Huckabee 10%, pro-life former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 8%, pro-life Congressman Ron Paul 7%, pro-life Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty 4%, and pro-life former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 3%.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is pro-life but upset pro-lifers with talk of a social issues truce, registers at just one percent.

The poll shows Palin’s favorability numbers, particularly among independent voters, are better than expected with 50 percent favoring her compared with 41 percent who do not. Some 59 percent of Republicans favor Palin, which is lower than other states with more conservative Republican voters.

Meanwhile, in Nevada, Obama leads Huckabee by 10, Gingrich by 11, Palin by 13 but Romney only by just one percentage point. That’s good news for the former Massachusetts senator who won Nevada’s Republican race in 2008.

The new Public Policy Polling survey shows “Obama would easily take Nevada if he had to stand for reelection today…unless the Republicans nominated Mitt Romney.”

“Nevada is one of the few swing states we’ve polled in the last couple months where more voters approve (50%) than disapprove (46%) of Obama. Like everywhere else in the country Democrats are largely happy with him and Republicans are most unhappy- what sets apart his numbers in Nevada is his popularity with independents, 55% of whom approve of him with 41% disapproving,” the firm noted.

Independents favor Romney 58-28 but that’s much higher than how they view other potential Republican contenders. Huckabee’s favorability with them is 38/50, Palin’s is 28/61, and Gingrich occupies the basement in this state at 26/65.

Obama’s lead over Romney is 47-46 percent, over Huckabee at 50-40 percent, he leads Gingrich 51-40 percent, and leads Palin 52-39 percent.

“Of the battleground states where we’ve polled 2012 so far, Nevada has the biggest disparity in the GOP’s chances of winning depending on who their nominee is. The only other state where there was greater than a 5 point difference between how one Republican did and the rest of them was Michigan, where Romney came to within 4 points of Obama with Huckabee the next closest at 12 points,” the polling firm indicated.