For the fourth day in a row, Mitt Romney has fallen in overnight tracking, and Rick Santorum has dropped into fifth place among likely voters in the Jan. 10 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, according to the latest Suffolk University/7News two-day tracking poll.

Ron Paul is gaining on Romney, while Jon Huntsman has rallied into third place.

Romney dropped 4 percentage points overnight to 35 percent. The former Massachusetts governor still holds a 15 point lead, but his margin has declined by 8 percentage points since last Tuesday, when 43 percent of likely Republican voters backed Romney.

Romney is followed by Paul (20 percent), Huntsman (11 percent), Newt Gingrich (9 percent) and Santorum, who dropped another point to 8 percent overnight. Rick Perry and Buddy Roemer each had 1 percent with 15 percent undecided.

“It’s a New Hampshire primary, it’s January, and here we go again,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Romney’s strategy of running out the clock is costing him margin, Huntsman is still fighting hard and beginning to rally, and New Hampshire is playing contrarian to Rick Santorum, the Iowa Caucus star of a week ago, who has dropped to fifth place.”

All of the field calls for the tracking on Saturday, Jan. 7 were completed prior to the 9 p.m. EST start time of the first of two debates this weekend.

Romney showed weakness among younger voters and in the north/west region of the state which includes the counties of Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, and Sullivan. Among younger voters ages 18-34 years, Romney now trails Paul, who leads 39 percent to 25 percent. In the north/west region Paul led Romney 27 percent to 23 percent.

Huntsman improved from 3 percent to 10 percent in Rockingham county, the second largest county in New Hampshire. Huntsman also rallied hard among young Independents ages 18-44 years, where he increased from 10 percent to 18 percent. Among older Independents ages 65+, he is in second place, trailing Romney by 15 points (37 percent to 22 percent).

The Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston will release results of two-day tracking polls every day leading up to the New Hampshire presidential primary on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012.


Methodology

The statewide survey includes two nights of 250 likely respondents for a two-day tracking total of 500 likely voters in New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary. This track was conducted Jan. 6 and Jan. 7 using live telephone interviews with landline and cell phone users. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data will be posted Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310. Paleologos is on site at the Manchester, N.H., media center located in the lobby of the Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm Street, Manchester through Jan. 10.