In the shock poll of the day, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has pulled into a statistical tie with Mitt Romney in the former Massachusetts governor’s backyard, New Hampshire.
- Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, left, and Mitt Romney, during the debate Saturday, Nov. 12, in Spartanburg, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
The poll of likely Republican primary voters by Magellan Strategies for the online New Hampshire Journal shows Mr. Romney with 29% in the Granite State, within the poll’s 3.6-percentage-point margin of error over Mr. Gingrich’s 27%. Texas Rep. Ron Paul has 16% support, with former pizza company executiveHerman Cain at 10%.
Mr. Gingrich’s rise has been chronicled in a slew of state and national polls this week. A Rasmussen Reports poll in Iowa Thursday gave Mr. Gingrich a double-digit lead over his competition in Iowa, 32% to Mr. Romney’s 19% to Mr. Cain’s 13%.
But Mr. Romney, the putative national front-runner, has been skittish about committing time and effort to Iowa, where caucus goers head to the polls in less than seven weeks. New Hampshire, in contrast, is his firewall. A big victory Jan. 10 in the state next to his home– and where he owns a lake house – is supposed to propel him south to South Carolina and Florida, and on to the Republican nomination. Even a close second place finish in the Granite State for Mr. Gingrich would be a significant political boost – and a blow to Mr. Romney.