Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman Up In New Hampshire Polling

Suffolk University Polling has some new numbers that reflect something of a seachange in New Hampshire:
Front-runners gaining on pack
Romney (41 percent) gained 5 points since June, followed by Ron Paul (14 percent), and Jon Huntsman (10 percent). Huntsman and Paul gained 6 percent each since the last poll.

The single-digit tier consisted of Perry (8 percent), Sarah Palin (6 percent), Michele Bachmann (5 percent), and Newt Gingrich (4 percent), while Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer each received 1 percent. Eleven percent of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters were undecided.

“Mitt Romney is saying ‘get out of my back yard’ and making New Hampshire his strong firewall despite showing some weakness in the other states’ early primaries,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center. “The anti-Romney candidate at this point could be either Ron Paul, who has polled consistently over the past year, or Jon Huntsman, whose numbers are really growing in the Granite State.” which Brent Budowski responds with some very good analysis:
Paul has real opportunity here, but also risk. Can he get his number above 20 percent, or is he trapped at 14 percent? New Hampshire gives Paul a real shot at center stage, but he has to make the most of it. And I love his move about Dennis Kucinich. Assuming no Democratic primary, could Ron Paul win some anti-war crossover votes, as I have been suggesting is possible?

Huntsman in New Hampshire is a big deal. If he really is at 10 percent, this is a big move, with some big mo’, perhaps. If Huntsman continues to climb, and finishes in second place, he is a big winner. The history of New Hampshire is that second-place winners can be treated like first-place winners, and if Huntsman pulls off a strong second, there will be a big showdown in South Carolina.

As for Perry, if he stays under 10 percent, it is a major humiliation and disaster for him. Too early to tell if New Hampshire becomes such a disaster for Perry, but it is striking how little support he has in the Granite State, and how high his negative ratings are.

Could Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman both beat Rick Perry in New Hampshire? Could be. If this continues, watch how quickly Perry could collapse nationally and be seen as a regional or fringe candidate.

Photo: David S. Holloway/CNN