Pawlenty Spokesman Brushes Off Romney’s Poll Lead
In a poll that one possible future rival dismissed as little more than a test in name recognition, Mitt Romney dominated a crowded field of potential Republican White House hopefuls among voters likely to participate in the nation’s first presidential primary.
Thirty-nine percent of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters supported Romney, who served as governor of neighboring Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has high negatives even among some Granite State Republicans, finished in second place with 16 percent, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 10 percent, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) with 8 percent, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) with 7 percent and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with 4 percent.
Rounding out the bottom of the pack were former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 3 percent and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour with 1 percent.
A spokesman for Pawlenty, the first potential candidate to have a paid staffer on the ground in New Hampshire, largely dismissed the results of the GOP-leaning Magellan Strategies automated telephone survey of 1,451 likely Republican and independent voters. The poll, commissioned by NHJournal.com and conducted Jan. 4, had a margin of error of about 2.6 points.
“Any poll at this stage is largely a name ID test,” Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant said. “And obviously Gov. Pawlenty isn’t as well known as other potential candidates who have run for national office.”
Those other candidates who have run for national office include 2008 presidential candidates Romney, Huckabee, Paul and Palin, the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008. Pawlenty’s term as Minnesota governor formally ended earlier this week.
A Romney spokesman declined to respond to Conant’s comments.
Correction: Jan. 7
The article incorrectly referred to Tim Pawlenty’s campaign. Pawlenty has a political action committee but has not formed a presidential campaign.