Potential Presidential Hopefuls Head To N.H.
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
Welcome back to the program.
JOSH ROGERS: Good afternoon, Michele.
NORRIS: Josh, it seems awfully busy up there right now.
ROGERS: Well, today, it's peaceful, but it's been a busy week. Yesterday, Michele Bachmann was in town. Rick Santorum, Herman Cain. Last week, Tim Pawlenty was up here, as was Jon Huntsman. Huntsman will be back on Friday. Rudy Giuliani. And tomorrow, certainly, a big day for Mitt Romney. And maybe Sarah Palin. We don't know, so it's certainly been busy.
NORRIS: Now, you mentioned Mitt Romney. He's announcing tomorrow at a farm somewhere in the state. I'm curious about what you're hearing about his appeal there in New Hampshire. He is seen as the frontrunner in several national polls. Is the state a speed bump or a springboard for someone who hails from the neighboring state, Massachusetts?
ROGERS: A poll taken two weeks ago by the University of New Hampshire showed that 33 percent of likely Republican voters would support Romney, and that's more support than the next four candidates combined. But just 4 percent in that poll said their minds were set, and 87 percent of likely Republican voters said they had no idea who will they'll ultimately support. And one number in that poll that might be troubling for Romney is that fully half said they weren't even somewhat satisfied with the field, so we're long ways away.
W: name recognition, he lives here, in Wolfeboro, part time. He'll certainly have money. He's led every poll taken by the University of New Hampshire since 2009, but, you know, the tensions between Romney and, you know, the Republican base are evident.
NORRIS: I'm curious with Michele Bachmann visiting and Sarah Palin likely on her way - two Tea Party favorites - I'm curious about the influence the Tea Party movement has there in New Hampshire and how that will play in presidential politics.
ROGERS: And you can see the candidates that are moving through here are trying to strike a balance between harnessing the energy of the sort of Tea Party and more insurgent conservative activists and more traditional Republicans, you know, to say nothing of all those independents.
NORRIS: Just quickly, what are the issues that resonate most in your state?
ROGERS: I mean, it's fairly standard Republican fare and also a lot of stuff about how this will be the most important election in history. We get that every election cycle, but that's really being stressed. And a lot of talk from the more rightward candidates that, you know, we run the risk of losing America as we know it without a different commander in chief.
NORRIS: Josh Rogers, good to talk you. Thanks so much.
ROGERS: No problem, Michele.
NORRIS: Josh Rogers is the statehouse reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio.
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