N.H. poll: battling for second?

The newest UNH/WMUR/CNN poll of the Republican primary in New Hampshire finds these results:

  1. Mitt Romney -- 33 percent
  2. John McCain -- 18 percent
  3. Rudy Giuliani -- 16 percent
  4. Ron Paul -- 8 percent
  5. Mike Huckabee -- 5 percent
  6. Fred Thompson -- 4 percent

More here with full results (pdf) here.

UPDATE: The last WMUR/CNN poll from UNH was in September, when Romney (25 percent) and Giuliani (24) topped McCain (18) and Thompson (13) with Paul (4) and Huckabee (3) behind them. More recently, the Boston Globe poll from earlier this month was also done by UNH. It had Romney at 32 percent, Giuliani at 20, McCain at 17, Paul at 7, Huckabee at 5 and Thompson at 3.

Combining the two UNH polls from this month would yield these ranges:

  • Romney 32-33
  • Giuliani 16-20
  • McCain 17-18
  • Paul 7-8
  • Huckabee 5-5
  • Thompson 3-4

So the news isn't so much that Romney's lead has grown since September, but rather that, in combination with the other UNH poll this month, this one confirms the state of the race with (most likely) a little less than two months to go. (Hence the changed headline.)

AND some tidbits:

  • The likely voter samples in the two November polls include 30 and 34 percent undeclared voters (the rest being registered Republicans). The last Democratic primary sample included roughly 40 percent undeclared voters. We'll see tomorrow if that difference holds up.
  • This race remains fluid, with 57 to 60 percent of likely voters saying they're still trying to decide who will get their vote.
  • If Romney has a relative weakness, it's on terrorism. Both polls asked who's best able to deal with terrorism. For the top three the ranges were Giuliani 29-33, McCain 31-31 and Romney 12-13.
  • By contrast, in today's poll, Romney holds big edges on being best able to handle the economy, taxes and illegal immigration. On abortion, there is simply no Republican candidate wowing the New Hampshire electorate.