Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are tied, with each polling at 47 percent in a Granite State showdown, according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS survey of likely voters in that swing state.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 2 percent; and 4 percent were undecided.

“Although New Hampshire offers only four electoral votes in the presidential sweepstakes, it may be an important state for both candidates to actively campaign in,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “It would be especially worthwhile for Obama, given that his job approval-disapproval number also is fixed at 47 percent.”

President Obama is scheduled to appear in Manchester this coming Thursday.

When a subset of 30 undecided and Gary Johnson respondents were given the choice between Romney or Obama only, Romney led 47 percent to 13 percent, with 40 percent remaining undecided.

“Politics is full of ironies. Gary Johnson voters are predisposed to voting against the incumbent president, but Johnson’s presence on the New Hampshire presidential ballot is actually helping Obama,” said Paleologos. “Those anti-incumbent voters – at least right now – aren’t finding their way to Mitt Romney.”

Obama led 50 percent to 46 percent among women but trailed Romney 49 percent to 43 percent among men.

Geographically, Romney showed strength in the state’s two largest New Hampshire counties, with leads of 46 percent to 43 percent in Hillsborough County and 54 percent to 43 percent in Rockingham County. These were counties where Romney also scored highest during the Republican Primary in January. Obama bested Romney 51 percent to 45 percent in the other eight New Hampshire counties combined.

Obama has edge on favorability

Obama remains more personally popular than Romney, with a 50 percent favorable-44 percent unfavorable rating, compared to 48 percent favorable-46 percent unfavorable for the former Massachusetts governor.

Forty-eight percent of voters said that they connected better with Obama, compared to 44 percent for Romney. The president was projected to be better at handling foreign policy (46 percent) than Romney (42 percent). Romney was seen as the candidate who had the best plan to fix the economy (Romney 45 percent-Obama 42 percent).

Of those polled, 70 percent watched the televised vice-presidential debate on Oct. 11. Of these New Hampshire viewers, 43 percent said Joe Biden won; 42 percent selected Paul Ryan; and 15 percent were undecided.

N.H. governor’s race

In the New Hampshire gubernatorial race, Democrat Maggie Hassan (41 percent) led Republican Ovide Lamontagne (38 percent), while Libertarian John Babiarz received 4 percent, and 16 percent were undecided.

N.H. economy

Twenty-seven percent of likely voters saw the New Hampshire economy as improving over the last four years, while 35 percent said it has stayed the same, and 32 percent indicated it has gotten worse.

Nearly three in four voters (74 percent) would oppose a state sales tax in New Hampshire. However, 64 percent would support a mandatory seat belt law.

Forty-nine percent opposed cutting federal funding for public broadcasting– a measure Romney has proposed– while 36 percent would support a cut, and 15 percent were undecided.


The statewide survey of 500 likely New Hampshire voters was conducted Oct. 12-14, 2012, using live telephone interviews of 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 are available on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.