Romney took 41 percent of likely Republican voters surveyed in the Granite State, leading Gingrich and Ron Paul, who each came in at 14 percent.
Jon Hunstman, who is polling around 1 percent nationally but has staked his campaign on New Hampshire, came in fourth at 9 percent, followed by Herman Cain at 8 percent, Rick Santorum at 3 percent, Rick Perry at 2 percent and Michele Bachmann at 1 percent.
Still, as most of the polls indicate, the GOP electorate remains fluid, with more than half saying they are likely to change their minds before the first-in-the-nation primary.
“Every Republican candidate that surges in the national polls hits a firewall in New Hampshire,” David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center, said in a statement. “We’ve seen this with surges from Bachmann, Perry, Cain and now Gingrich. A Romney loss here is highly improbable, and Romney’s best insurance policy in New Hampshire is Ron Paul, whose fixed support takes 14 percent off the table.”
That’s good news for Romney, as an American Research Group poll released on Monday showed Gingrich closing the gap in New Hampshire, though he still trailed the former Massachusetts governor by 11 percent.
Likely Republican voters in New Hampshire cited Romney’s religion as the biggest reason they didn’t support the candidate. Sixteen percent said it was his Mormon faith, while 10 percent said it was his flip-flops on issues, 10 percent noted his Massachusetts healthcare plan, and 9 percent said he wasn’t conservative enough.
Romney has struggled to energize the right-wing base of the Republican party, which remains skeptical of his conservative bona fides.
Still, it’s been a good week for Romney in the Granite State, as he picked up key endorsements from Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).