The latest poll from Bloomberg News (conducted by Selzer & Co.) of likely New Hampshire voters shows Republican candidate Mitt Romney leading President Barack Obama in the state by a hefty 10-point margin. Romney almost receives a majority of the 504 respondents' votes, leading the president by 50 percent to 40 percent. Notably, the Obama sports a 40 percent approval rating in the state, the same share of the actual vote he receives in the poll. No other Republicans were tested in head-to-head matchups.
This result is fascinating because the national polls have shown the president leading Romney by about two points on average, with Romney receiving about 45 percent of the vote. In other words, the Bloomberg poll has New Hampshire sitting about five points to the right of the overall electorate. What makes this noteworthy is that the state has been roughly at the national average since the 1992 elections.
That 1992 date isn’t accidental, however. That’s when Bill Clinton effectively transformed the Democratic brand from one of social and economic liberalism to one of social and fiscal moderation. That bought the Democrats a foothold in the suburbs of the country’s northern tier (and southeastern New Hampshire is in many ways an exurb of Boston). With the recent degradation in that brand, it isn’t surprising that the Democrats’ performance in these areas of the country is suffering as well.