A new CNN/Time poll in New Hampshire finds Mitt Romney way ahead of the GOP field with 44%, followed by Ron Paul at 17%, Newt Gingrich at 16%, Jon Huntsman at 9%, Rick Santorum at 4%, Michele Bachmann at 3% and Rick Perry at 2%. In Iowa, CNN has Romney leading the Republican presidential field with 25%, followed by Ron Paul at 22%, Rick Santorum at 16%, Newt Gingrich at 14%, Rick Perry at 11%, Michele Bachmann at 9%, and Jon Huntsman at 1%.
The Santorum Surge has begun, at long-frothy-last.
A lot of polling organizations are criticizing the CNN poll, for it only polled registered Republcians and not likely caucus or primary voters, and it excluded Independents, whom can vote in both New Hampshire and Iowa contests. I also think another dynamic is being missed. Now, I don’t know the rules of the Republican Iowa caucus, but I do recall from the 2008 Democratic caucus that after the first round of preferences are recorded, if a candidate does not meet the threshold of 15%, that candidates’ supporters are free to join the ranks of other candidates who do meet the 15% threshold. Thus, the supporters of Huntsman may join up with Romney, while Perry and Bachman’s supporters may jump to Gingrich or Santorum. So there is a chance that the Anti-Romney forces could coalesce. But if both Gingrich, Paul and Santorum are above 15%, then maybe not.