Heading into Tuesday's primary election in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is running ahead of rival candidates competing for the Republican presidential nomination. In recent days; however, it hasn't been all smooth sailing for the former Massachusetts governor.
HuffPost's Ryan Grim and Amanda Terkel report:
Today couldn't have come fast enough for Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor's strategy to lie low while his opponents imploded one by one was put to the test when they collectively -- if reluctantly -- launched a final assault on him in the days leading to New Hampshire's primary.
Romney has retained his lead, but he failed the test -- a failure that may prove more significant in the general election than it will today. Under pressure from right and left, Romney delivered a series of gaffes and fibs in the past few days that may appear trivial on the surface, but reinforce the harshest critiques of him as a heartless businessman and soulless politician.
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HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal reports:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with a year-long, double-digit lead in the polls, has gone in for the kill in New Hampshire with his largest ad buy of the campaign. In an effort to swamp his competitors as they try to catch up to Romney after his razor-thin win in the Iowa caucuses, his campaign has dropped $454,170 in recent days on ad buys in the expensive Boston-area media market -- more than any of his competitors in the month of January.
Romney has consistently held double-digit leads in polls of New Hampshire voters and, according the most recent NBC/Marist poll, currently holds a 20 percent lead. This has led to a marked depression in television ad spending from the entire Republican primary field, as few candidates have dared to spend money on what looks like a sure-fire win for Romney in his own backyard. Romney's campaign has spent, in total, just under $1 million on ads in the Boston media market, significantly less than during his 2008 run.
Despite the bumps he's hit in the road in recent days, Romney appears to have a strong shot at coming out on top in Tuesday's contest. HuffPost's Mark Blumenthal has the latest on the polls:
If ever there were a time when polls should be certain about something, it is that Mitt Romney will win New Hampshire's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday. At least 53 times over the past two years, and at least 24 times in the last two months, media pollsters have measured the preferences of likely voters in New Hampshire, and found Romney leading the Republican race every time, usually by large, double-digit margins.
The final round of tracking polls taken over the past weekend shows Romney leading Ron Paul and the rest of the candidates by margins of 15 to 24 percentage points. By the metrics of polling, Romney's victory in New Hampshire appears virtually assured.
Yet the same surveys are also full of uncertainty, particularly as reported by the voters themselves, and that margin of doubt leaves open questions about the size of Romney's likely victory and the identity of the candidates who finish second, third and fourth.
Romney came in first place in the 2012 Iowa caucus last week. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum finished just eight vote behind the Massachusetts Republican in second place.