Last time around, Mitt Romney took a blow when he took 'silver' in his neighboring state New Hampshire, losing to the man who'd been plotting to win the state since the last contested primary there, John McCain.
This time it looks like Romney is going to repeat the McCain strategy. By never having given up on the state since November 2008, Romney looks set to take the state this time around, according to the new Suffolk University/WHDH poll.
The facts: 400 likely GOP primary voters, telephone poll with no mention given of mobile handling. MoE 4.9. 50% of of the GOP LV sample are Republicans, 42% are Unenrolled or Independents, and 6% are Democrats.
The top line: Romney is way ahead. He takes 41%, as much as the next four names combined. Non-candidate Sarah Palin is included, but I don't see how her 6% matters, even if we were to add it all to Ron Paul (14%), Jon Huntsman (10%), Rick Perry (8%), or Michele Bachmann (5%). Romney leads and it's not even close.
How's he doing it? The former Governor of Massachusetts is familiar with the territory, he's familiar to the voters, many of whom are in Massachusetts media markets, and he's been campaigning there for years. But more specifically, who's he appealing to, I wonder?
Overall Mitt Romney has a net +49 favorability rating, 69/20. That jumps to +64 (76/12) among Republicans, while his independents figure of +37 (64/27) remains respectable. On the other hand national frontrunner Rick Perry puts up a shocking +4 (36/32) as far fewer of those polled even have an opinion of him. 33% have never heard of or are undecided about Perry, compared with 12 undecided and zero never having heard of Romney. Perry is liked among NH Republicans at +22 (43/21) but is absolutely killed among NH Independents, putting up a -14 (33/47). They want Mitt.
So, the bottom line? Independents broke 34 Romney, 19 Paul, 13 Huntsman, 9 Perry, 5 Bachmann, while Republicans gave 47 to Romney, 9 Perry, 9 Paul, 8 Huntsman, 8 Palin, 5 Bachmann, results closer to but still strikingly different from the national picture. New Hampshire's independents are not deciding this primary, but they're putting Mitt Romney well out of reach of the rest of the candidates.