Mitt Romney continues to look like an overwhelming early favorite for the 2012 New Hampshire primary but the most surprising thing about our newest set of numbers there may be that Ron Paul’s in third place, outpolling Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin (albeit by small margins.)
Romney leads the way with 31% to 14% for Newt Gingrich, 13% for Paul, 12% for Huckabee, 9% for Palin, 3% for Tim Pawlenty, and 1% for Mitch Daniels.
Ron Paul’s numbers challenge the general assumptions about his support a little bit. With voters who identify themselves as Tea Partiers he’s in fifth place with only 9%. With voters who don’t identify themselves as such he’s in second place with 15%. His son, Rand Paul, has been to some extent the poster child for the Tea Party on the national level but that’s not equating to support from that quarter for his dad. Paul’s numbers also suggest some appeal to the anti-Palin wing of the party. With GOP primary voters who consider a Palin endorsement to be a negative he’s running almost even, getting 23% to Romney’s 25%. But he polls at only 6% with people for whom Palin support is a plus.