Mitt Romney leads President Obama in New Hampshire

Holly Bailey
The Ticket

A new poll finds that Mitt Romney remains the only Republican who can beat President Obama in New Hampshire ahead of next year's 2012 election.

A new Dartmouth College survey of registered voters in the state finds that Romney would beat Obama by 8 points, 47 percent to 39 percent, in a projected general election match-up.

It's the second poll this year that found Romney leading Obama by a sizable margin in the Granite State, where the president's popularity has dramatically fallen since the 2008 campaign. Just 36 percent of voters approve of the job Obama is doing in the White House--one of his lowest ratings in the country.

According to the poll, no other Republican comes close to matching Romney's political strength in the state. The closest other GOP contender is Mike Huckabee, who would lose to Obama by 8 points, 37 percent to 45 percent.

Still, in a sign of his potential weakness, Obama struggles to get above the 50 percent voting threshold against every potential 2012 contender, except for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin. He would defeat the real estate tycoon by 22 points among New Hampshire voters, while his margin against the former Alaska governor increases to 27 points.

Notably, the poll tested one random name against Obama: former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican who endorsed the president's campaign in 2008. While Powell has not even hinted he's interested in the presidency, pollsters tested his name to see how voters would respond to a candidate associated with strong leadership qualities.

According to the poll, Powell would beat Obama by 20 points, 48 percent to 28 percent, though a good margin--24 percent--said they were undecided. The results, according to the pollsters, suggest voters are still looking for their perfect candidate in 2012.

(Photo of Romney: Julie Jacobson/AP)