Poll: Romney Still Leads in New Hampshire, Gingrich Slouching Toward Roemer Territory

The new University of New Hampshire poll shows us a Republican primary frozen in time. The effort to become the anti-Romney goes on, poorly; Michele Bachmann, his strongest challenger, has a third of his support.

The numbers, with trendlines from the May poll:

Romney - 35% (+2)
Michele Bachmann - 12% (+8)
Ron Paul - 7% (-2)
Rudy Giuliani - 7% (+1)
Rick Perry - 4% (+4)
Tim Pawlenty - 3% (-3)
Sarah Palin - 3% (-2)
Jon Huntsman - 2% (-2)
Herman Cain - 2% (-2)
Newt Gingrich - 1% (-6)
Gary Johnson - <1% (+0)
Rick Santorum - <1% (-1)
Buddy Roemer - <1% (+0)

A few obvious conclusions:

- The Gingrich collapse began with his apostasy on the Ryan budget, continued with his shabby fundraising and staff betrayals, and will end with the former Speaker dropping out of the race whenever he feels like he can do it with dignity. In the internals here, his favorable rating has dropped from 42 percent in April to 25 percent now. He’s just not a serious candidate.

- What happened between April and July? Jon Huntsman spent a lot of time in New Hampshire, earning free media that would make Charlie Sheen blush. And his margin-of-error support got cut in half. This may be an outlier, but there’s no evidence yet of Granite State voters taking a look at Huntsman and liking him. Slightly more voters view him unfavorably – 23 percent, to 19 percent who view him favorably

- We saw, in Herman Cain, how quickly a star can rise then fade as voters move on to other options. But Michele Bachmann has clearly established herself as the Tea Party candidate of summer. She’s got a favorable rating of 52 percent and an unfavorable rating of 23 percent; Romney’s at 68 percent and 24 percent, although that’s his poorest rating in the recent history of the poll. Among Tea Party voters, she’s at 70 percent and he’s at 68 percent. Sarah Palin? 57 percent with Tea Partiers, 41 percent with all Republican voters. (This makes Thaddeus McCotter’s campaign even more of a non-starter than the usual House member’s vanity campaign – the electorate is happy with the conservative, Constitution-citing member of Congress it has, thanks.)