Mitt Romney may be tightening his grip on New Hampshire voters, despite tremendous buzz surrounding Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the nation's first presidential primary state and elsewhere.
The former Massachusetts governor now leads his nearest rival, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, by 27 points among likely New Hampshire voters, according to a Suffolk University-7News poll released Wednesday night. Perry finished far back, earning 8 percent compared with Romney's 41 percent. Paul took 14 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman received 10 percent to round out the top four finishers.
Suffolk reported a 4.9-point margin of error in the survey of 400 likely GOP primary voters taken Sept. 18 to 20.
It was the first nonpartisan poll focused on New Hampshire since Perry formally joined the race almost six weeks ago. In recent weeks, he has been considered the GOP frontrunner after top finishes in several nationwide polls. But winning the Republican nomination usually depends on performances in individual states.
Perry has devoted considerable time and energy to New Hampshire so far, having already made three separate trips here. Earlier Wednesday, his campaign released an endorsement list of 27 state representatives. And he has consistently drawn large crowds.