A new poll suggests that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is the favored candidate among voters in the neighboring first-primary state of New Hampshire.
Thirty-five percent of likely GOP primary voters surveyed by the University of New Hampshire for the latest WMUR/Granite State Poll (pdf) said they prefer Romney for president in 2012. That figure represents a robust plurality of state Republicans, and puts Romney way out ahead of his potential GOP competition.
Second-place poll finisher Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, lagged far behind Romney with 12 percent.
But comparison polling from earlier this year shows Romney's lead could be shrinking--and it may be Bachmann's doing.
Romney led last month's WMUR/Granite State Poll of New Hampshire Republicans with 41 percent, with all other candidates trailing far behind in the single digits.
But that poll was released prior to the June 13 CNN/WMUR New Hampshire debate, during which Bachmann announced her candidacy and burst onto the 2012 scene.
Click here to review The Ticket's liveblog of the GOP debate.
Bachmann's jump from a tie for fifth place in last month's poll to second place this month suggests that she is cutting into Romney's New Hampshire lead.
In the 2008 primary, Romney placed second in New Hampshire behind the eventual winner of the GOP presidential nomination, John McCain.
In a hypothetical general election matchup against Barack Obama, Romney led New Hampshire voters in this week's poll, 47 to 43 percent.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul received 7 percent in the primary match up, tied with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is still reportedly on the fence about a 2012 presidential run. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has not announced a candidacy, received 4 percent and the remaining announced and prospective candidates followed behind.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin led as the candidate voters said they would not support under any circumstance.