Huntsman, Santorum support up in New Hampshire

MANCHESTER Sat Jan 7, 2012 8:57pm EST

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R) chats with Stephen Luce, owner the Main Street Station Diner, in the kitchen during a campaign event in Plymouth, New Hampshire January 7, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R) chats with Stephen Luce, owner the Main Street Station Diner, in the kitchen during a campaign event in Plymouth, New Hampshire January 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi

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MANCHESTER (Reuters) - Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is gaining support in New Hampshire at the right time, days before Tuesday's key primary election, but he still trails front-runner Mitt Romney by a prohibitive margin.

Also on the move in the new poll was former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, who surged into fourth place from a base of almost no support in the northeastern state.

Shifting voter loyalties come as Republican contenders for their party's nomination to run for U.S. president in November's election square off in two debates over the weekend and stage a whirlwind of campaigning before the New Hampshire primary.

The new poll by American Research Group showed Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to China who has staked his hopes on a strong showing in New Hampshire, jumping into second place.

Romney, a former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, had 40 percent support in the survey of 600 likely Republican primary voters done on Friday and Saturday. That was up from 35 percent in the group's previous poll in mid-December.

Huntsman was second with 17 percent, up from 13 percent, while support for Texas Congressman Ron Paul slipped to 16 percent from 21 percent.

The ARG survey was done in the days after Huntsman was endorsed for the New Hampshire primary by the Boston Globe, Romney's hometown newspaper, which is distributed widely in southern New Hampshire.

Santorum, who lost narrowly to Romney in this week's Iowa caucuses, surged to 12 percent from just 1 percent in December. Support for former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich fell to 8 percent from 16 percent.

Romney had a wide lead among New Hampshire's registered Republican voters and also among those who considered themselves supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement.

Independents, who can vote in Tuesday's primary, split their votes more evenly - 30 percent for Romney, 24 percent for Huntsman and 20 percent for Paul.

Another survey, released on Friday by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, showed Huntsman with 16 percent support from likely voters in New Hampshire, behind Romney at 37 percent and Paul at 19 percent.

(Reporting By Ros Krasny; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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Comments (5)
akiha wrote:
And so it begins. The media led manipulation to prop up Huntsman. The same candidate who received 0.6% of the vote in the Iowa Caucus yet ABC NEWS on Saturday’s debate had the audacity to ask Ron Paul yet again about seeking a third party bid…

Jan 08, 2012 12:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
JJ22 wrote:
This ARG poll is in ERROR. Huntsman is NOT in 2nd place. See here:

Jan 08, 2012 12:54am EST  --  Report as abuse
JoeGennaro wrote:
Jon Huntman’s daughters made the bad video that was attributed to a Ron Paul supporter. First of all, how did some random person get such intimate footage of the huntsman family, unless the random person IS in Huntsman’s family? Second of all, Abby, the same daughter who was looking guilty on Fox News, mistakenly admitted it on the huntsman site forum (thinking it was a private thread when it was actually public lol.) and also . Thirdly, an independent web company investigated, came to the conclusion that the video was posted from Huntsman’s campaign servers, and then explained why pretty clearly. I actually can’t believe it. This is so slimy and underhanded. Well folks, this is the kind of person who is the status quo politician.

Jan 08, 2012 2:42am EST  --  Report as abuse
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