If the general election were held today, Romney would beat Obama in New Hampshire by 10 percentage points, according to a new Bloomberg News poll.
New Hampshire has favored Democratic candidates in four of the last five presidential elections, and backed the winner in each of those contests except in 2004, when Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry carried the state over President George W. Bush. Obama won New Hampshire in 2008 with 54% of the vote.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, does particularly well with New Hampshire’s independent voters – he would win independents by 15 percentage points, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the poll results.
The Romney-Obama matchup was the only potential general election contest tested in the poll, which was conducted Nov. 10-12 by the Des Moines firm Selzer & Co.
The poll also surveyed likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, and found that Romney continues to hold a considerable lead in the state, with 40% support, followed by Ron Paul with 17%, Newt Gingrich with 11% and Herman Cain with 8%. Twenty-six percent said they backed Romney when he ran for the GOP nomination in 2008; 7% backed Paul that year.
Almost two-thirds of likely primary voters – 60% -- said they could be persuaded to back another candidate.
The poll results also suggest that allegations that Herman Cain sexually harassed women in the 1990s may have hurt the former pizza chain executive’s standing with voters.
A Rasmussen Reports survey conducted just before the allegations broke found Cain with 17% support; two weeks later, his support in the Bloomberg News poll was just 8%.
Forty-three percent of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire said they would rule out a candidate who had been accused of sexual harassment. Just 30% of likely caucus-goers in Iowa said the same in a Bloomberg News poll also conducted by Selzer & Co. from Nov. 10-12. Cain’s support in Iowa is considerably higher – 20%.