While former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remains a front-runner in New Hampshire, Michele Bachmann climbed 8 points since May, to 11 percent, according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS (WHDH TV) poll of likely voters in New Hampshire’s GOP presidential primary.
Bachmann’s gain was more than that of any other candidate. Romney, with 36 percent support, gained 1 point since Suffolk University’s last Granite State poll was released nearly two months ago.
Feedback on debate
Among those who watched the Republican Presidential debate in Manchester earlier this month, 33 percent said Romney won the debate, while 31 percent gave the win to Bachmann.
With the exception of Romney and Bachmann, support for the 18 candidates tested remained in single digits. Tim Pawlenty slipped 3 points, to 2 percent, and Newt Gingrich was unchanged with 2 percent.
“Despite being a long way from home, it’s clear that Bachmann is finding momentum in the Granite State,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center. “Romney has managed to stay on top throughout some shakeups in the Republican field.”
Of note, Ron Paul has remained steady with 8 percent since early May, ranking him third overall and ahead of Palin (4 percent) and Rudy Giuliani (5 percent). Jon Huntsman gained 4 points (4 percent), ranking him ahead of Gingrich, Pawlenty and Rick Santorum (1 percent).
Tea Party influence
Bachmann, in her presidential campaign announcement yesterday, said she represents Tea Party principles. The Suffolk University poll showed that 51 percent of those polled also identified themselves as being aligned with Tea Party ideals, and 54 percent described themselves as conservative.
Candidates said to be the least trustworthy were Gingrich (19 percent) and Sarah Palin (17 percent), followed by Romney (10 percent). However, a majority of likely voters (69 percent) said that Romney’s changed positions on several social issues did not disqualify him from getting their vote, while 24 percent said that it did, and 8 percent were undecided.
President Barack Obama performed poorly among likely Republican Primary voters, with a 25 percent favorable rating, down 11 points since early May. Yet 24 percent of respondents said they expect President Obama will win reelection.
Jobs & economy
The Republican Primary voters polled said that the top issues facing the country are jobs and the economy (46 percent) and reducing the national debt (19 percent). They were against raising taxes to reduce the deficit almost two to one (67 percent vs. 28 percent). And a majority of respondents felt the near-universal health care bill passed by Democrats last year should be repealed (53 percent) or modified (27 percent), however, few respondents said health care was the most important (4 percent) or second most important (11 percent) issue facing the country.
The statewide survey of 400 likely voters in New Hampshire’s Republican Presidential Primary was conducted June 25-27, 2011, using live telephone interviews. The margin of error is +/-4.9 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data will be posted at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2011, on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, firstname.lastname@example.org.