Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah who has campaigned extensively in New Hampshire, has surged into third place among Republicans in the Granite State, according to the Suffolk University/WHDH-TV poll of likely voters that also shows Mitt Romney with a commanding lead.
As the former governor of next-door Massachusetts, Romney has opened up a 27-point lead over his nearest rival, according to the poll released on Thursday. Romney also has a home in New Hampshire, which will have the nation’s first presidential primary.
While Romney at 41% is expected to score big in New Hampshire, the order of the remaining GOP aspirants is far out of tune with national polls. For example, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who leads Romney in most national polls, scored just 8%, well back in the pack.
Romney’s closest opposition in New Hampshire is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian iconoclast, at 14% who has been creeping up in the national polls. Paul is followed by Huntsman at 10%. Huntsman has been badly trailing, down in single digits in most national polls.