NORTH HAMPTON, N.H. -- Barack Obama carried this state by 10 percentage points in 2008, and polls this year have had him ahead of hometown candidate Mitt Romney, who has a house in Wolfeboro, by as much as 7 percentage points.
But recent polls have showed the race tightening in the Granite State, perhaps because of voters such as Erin Pompeo, a stay-at-home mom from Stratham.
Pompeo was pretty well settled on Obama until she saw the first presidential debate. Suddenly Romney, who Pompeo had thought was too “silver spoon,” looked appealing. Pompeo liked his tax plan, and thought Romney seemed more knowledgeable.
“It made me more iffy on Obama,” said Pompeo, 38.
Bob Weir, 69, an independent voter who considers himself a moderate, was also impressed by Romney’s debate performance. He’s still undecided, but is giving Romney a second look.
“I like Obama as a human being, but think he’s surrounded himself with a bunch of idiots,” he said.
Obama and Romney have traded the lead in this swing state throughout the year, polls show. A Dartmouth College poll in April had Romney up by 2 percentage points, and then a slew of polls such as the right-leaning Rasmussen Reports had Obama up in June. A recent Rasmussen poll showed the race tied once more, though an average of polls by Real Clear Politics has Obama up by 4.5 percentage points.
Doug Weissman voted for Obama last time around, and still considers himself undecided for November’s election. But he’s leaning toward Romney, he says.
“It seems like Romney knows a little more about the economy, and we need more jobs,” said Weissman, 42, a stay-at-home dad.
Obama should perhaps be relieved that he still has supporters like Francesca MacMahon, 70, who was heading out to canvass in a rainy New Hampshire evening.
“Obama stands for every dream I’ve had all my life,” she said.
It’s unlikely the vice presidential debate will sway minds as much as last week’s debate did, though. Many New Hampshire voters said they were looking forward to the vice presidential debate – not to make up their minds about who to choose for president, but just to watch some good old-fashioned political sparring.
“It’s going to be like entertainment,” said Pat Crawford, a Romney supporter from Portsmouth.
Added Rene Toussaint, a Romney supporter from Farmington: “I want to see Ryan kick some butt.”