PPP's newest New Hampshire poll finds everything pretty much as it was a week and a half ago with one exception: Newt Gingrich's support continues to plummet in the state, allowing Ron Paul to move into a clear second place.
Mitt Romney continues to have a solid lead in the state with 36% to 21% for Paul, 13% for Gingrich, 12% for Jon Huntsman, 7% for Michele Bachmann, and 3% each for Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum. Every candidate is within 2 points of their standing when PPP polled New Hampshire 2 weekends ago with the exception of Gingrich, who has dropped from 17% to 13%.
There's little to suggest anyone could come from behind to defeat Romney in New Hampshire. He has the best favorability numbers in the state at 63/32 and 78% of his supporters are strongly committed to him, higher even than Paul's number on that front. 44% of voters think he has the best chance of beating Obama with Gingrich the next closest at 11%. 40% think he has run the strongest campaign in the state, with the next closest Paul at 15%. And there's a sense of inevitability about him- 47% think he will win the state 13% for Paul with no one else in double digits. Romney's even winning the Tea Party vote 26-20 over Gingrich, a feat he's not managing in too many states.
Paul's second place standing in New Hampshire is being driven by the same groups he's doing well with in Iowa: young people and non-Republicans. With voters under 45 Paul actually leads Romney by a 27-24 margin. But Romney is destroying Paul 46-11 with seniors, accounting for most of his overall advantage. With non-Republicans, almost 40% of the vote in New Hampshire, the race is very close with Romney at 27%, Paul at 24%, and Huntsman at 21%. But with actual Republican voters Romney has the 42-19 advantage.
After hitting double digits for the first time in our last New Hampshire poll Huntsman seems to have hit a wall, going from 13% to 12%. He's gotten to the point where voters in the state at least respect him- his 55/27 favorability rating makes him the only candidate other than Romney over 50% on that front. But although Huntsman's winning Obama voters by a 25-24 margin over Romney, he's polling at only 6% with those describing themselves as conservatives and you just can't do that and hope to get much traction in a Republican primary. It's looking more and more like Huntsman's best case scenario could be a third place finish.
Talking about a 'Santorum surge' seems to be all the rage this week but he's polling at only 3% in New Hampshire, tying him with Rick Perry and even Buddy Roemer for 6th place. His favorability is slightly under water at 39/40. It's important to remember that even the momentum from winning Iowa in 2008 was only enough to push Mike Huckabee to 11% in New Hampshire so it seems doubtful that a 2nd or 3rd place finish in the state would get Santorum into contention in the Granite State.
Things just keep getting worse for Newt Gingrich. In addition to falling from 17% to 13% his 42/53 favorability makes him the second most unpopular of the candidates in New Hampshire, better only than Perry's 26/62.
New Hampshire certainly still looks like it will be Mitt Romney's firewall.
Full results here