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New polls show Mitt Romney flying high

Published: Saturday, Jan. 7 2012 3:51 p.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney signs autographs after taping an episode of the "Late Show with David Letterman," in New York.

Associated Press

A flurry of new polling reveals great news for Mitt Romney: not only does he maintain his stranglehold on winning New Hampshire, but Romney is now the favorite to win the South Carolina primary on Jan. 21 and once again sitting atop national polling for Republican presidential candidates.

In the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10, Suffolk University is conducting daily polling of Granite State voters likely to participate in the Republican primary come Tuesday. Even though Romney has "dropped slightly for three consecutive days and lost another point in the latest poll," Saturday's Suffolk University polling shows Romney "still holds a strong lead with 39 percent." Ron Paul is second with 17 percent, followed by Rick Santorum (10 percent) and Jon Huntsman Jr. (9 percent).

Saturday afternoon at the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog, elections guru Nate Silver wrote, "It would require an upset of historic proportions for Mr. Romney to lose New Hampshire." Silver estimates Romney's chances of winning Tuesday's primary at 99 percent.

A month ago, before Romney earned the endorsement of tea party darling and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, CNN/Time polling showed he had only 20-percent support in the Palmetto State. But on Friday, new CNN/Time polling gives Romney a 37-19 lead over Rick Santorum in South Carolina. A Rasmussen Reports poll out Friday also has Romney leading in the Palmetto State, albeit by the much smaller margin of 27-24 over Santorum. After analyzing the data from those two new South Carolina polls, Silver estimates Romney has a 58-percent chance of winning the Palmetto State primary on Jan. 21.

A Gallup poll released Friday measuring national support for Republican presidential candidates shows Romney leading Newt Gingrich, 27-19. Conversely, on Dec. 4 Gingrich led Romney, 34-25, in Gallup's national poll.

EMAIL: jaskar@desnews.com

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