New Hampshire is battleground for those against Mitt Romney

The dust had not settled in Iowa before the GOP Presidential candidates rode off to New Hampshire to continue their battle.

Fresh off his "win" in Iowa, Mitt Romney returned to the state where he has considerable infrastructure and built in support. Even their open primary style of voting tilts in his favor, allowing independent moderates to cross lines and vote. So it is a foregone conclusion Romney will take the New Hampshire primary.

But the real drama being played out in New Hampshire, is the battle for who will steal the hearts and minds of the unRomney electorate.

Polls have shown that there is great volatility in the GOP conservative base and that this electorate is looking for an alternative to the establishment's choice of Mitt Romney. So far the Romney ceiling of support has been about 25% in national polls, leaving 75% of the GOP electorate still undecided.

The two New Hampshire debates at times were vitriolic and animated. Exchanges between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul took up an inordinate amount of time on the debate stage. Santorum has tried to overtake Paul in the 2nd place position by attacking Paul's seeming isolationist policies.

Polls indicate that Santorum has lost momentum since his Iowa campaign almost grabbed the top spot. But he has been on the receiving end of negative attacks and as we have seen with other front runners, they work.

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Newt Gingrich for his part has come out swinging, taking the gloves off and firing back at Romney. He has accused Romney of hiding behind pious baloney while his super PAC does all of his dirty work. It has also been revealed that Gingrich received a fresh infusion of cash of 5 million from a powerful billionaire.

John Huntsman skipped Iowa to focus his efforts here in New Hampshire. But many Republicans have a distrust of him since he worked for the Obama administration, so his chances are between slim and none of achieving the nomination. After he broke out with a short speech in Mandarin on the debate stage the other night, he has been getting the nick name of: Mandarin Manchurian candidate; unfair, but it is sticking.

Although Rick Perry had one of his best debate performances the other night, being articulate and forceful in his national defense views and smaller government vision; the New Hampshire polls don't reflect that in his popularity and he is in last place.

But clearly, Mitt Romney is the target, as all guns are trained on him and he seems to be having some slippage in the polls.

As it stands, the battle in New Hampshire will be for 2nd place and right now according to polls, Ron Paul has that position locked up. Paul is also the beneficiary of New Hampshire's open primary rules, he also gets many independents and cross over votes and his message of strictly adhering to the constitution has resonated with many Americans. If it wasn't for his isolationist foreign policy views he would probably be doing much better.

The New Hampshire primary will set the stage for the all important races of South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada. These states are a whole new ballgame, they are conservative leaning and all bets are off on just who the front runners will be after they vote. Stay tuned!

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For other points of view visit Carroll Standard: www.carrollstandard.com
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