Romney Slips to 35 Percent in latest Suffolk poll for New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire – For the fourth day in a row, Mitt Romney has fallen in overnight tracking, while Rick Santorum has dropped into fifth place among likely voters in the Jan. 10 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, according to the latest Suffolk University/7News two-day tracking poll.

Ron Paul is gaining on Romney, while Jon Huntsman has rallied into third place.

Romney dropped 4 percentage points overnight (Saturday) to 35 percent. The former Massachusetts governor still holds a 15 point lead, but his margin has declined by 8 percentage points since last Tuesday, when 43 percent of likely Republican voters backed him.

Romney is followed by Paul (20 percent), Huntsman (11 percent), Newt Gingrich (9 percent) and Santorum, who dropped another point to 8 percent. Rick Perry and Buddy Roemer each had 1 percent, with 15 percent undecided.

“It’s a New Hampshire primary, it’s January, and here we go again,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Romney’s strategy of running out the clock is costing him margin, Huntsman is still fighting hard and beginning to rally, and New Hampshire is playing contrarian to Rick Santorum, the Iowa Caucus star of a week ago, who has dropped to fifth place.”

All of the field calls for the tracking on Saturday, Jan. 7 were completed prior to the 9 p.m. EST start time of the first of two debates over the weekend.

Romney showed weakness among younger voters and in the north/west region of the state which includes the counties of Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, and Sullivan. Among younger voters ages 18-34 years, Romney now trails Paul, who leads 39 percent to 25 percent.  In the north/west region Paul led Romney 27 percent to 23 percent. 

Huntsman improved from 3 percent to 10 percent in Rockingham County, the second largest county in New Hampshire.  Huntsman also rallied hard among young Independents ages 18-44 years, where he increased from 10 percent to 18 percent. Among older Independents ages 65+, he is in second place, trailing Romney by 15 points (37 percent to 22 percent).

The Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston is releasing results of two-day tracking polls every day leading up to the New Hampshire presidential primary on Tuesday.