MANCHESTER, N.H. - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears set to win the nation's first 2012 primary vote in New Hampshire next week by a wide margin, according to two surveys released on Monday.
Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts who has a vacation estate in New Hampshire, has 43 percent support among likely primary voters in a 7 News/Suffolk University daily tracking poll, and 41 percent in a survey by the polling firm Magellan Strategies.
He has a double-digit lead over his nearest rival Texas congressman Ron Paul, who polled at 21 percent in the Magellan Strategies survey and 17 percent in the 7 News/Suffolk University survey.
A large proportion of Romney supporters now say they are unlikely to change their minds, said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University's Political Research Center.
"Voters are becoming energized by a Romney candidacy, which is something that the campaign has lacked over the past year," he said. "Romney is closing the deal."