One of the biggest blows to Mitt Romney's hopes for being the 2008 Republican Presidential nominee was his losing the neighboring state of New Hampshire. Right now it doesn't look like that would be a problem for him in a 2012 run. Romney is by far and away the favorite of voters in the state at this very early point, with the support of 39% of Republicans in the state. Sarah Palin comes in second at 13%, with Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich tied for third at 11%. Ron Paul is fifth at 7%, and if anyone out of the unlikely trio of Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and Rick Santorum was somehow able to win the state they'd be able to say in their victory speech that they started at nothing- Pawlenty registers at 3% with Barbour and Santorum at just 1%.
We've looked at the Republican race for 2012 now in 13 different states and New Hampshire is just the second where there's been a runaway leader. The other was Florida, where we found Romney with 44% to 25% for Palin and 17% for Huckabee. Florida and New Hampshire are two of the most important stops on the early Republican calendar, and if Romney had been able to turn his narrow losses in them into victories in 2008 there's a very good chance he would have been the GOP nominee. Obviously it's still a long way until 2012 but perhaps even more than his lead in our national polling, his broad advantage in this pair of key states speaks to his nominal front runner status.
Full results here