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Poll puts Ron Paul neck-and-neck with Obama

Published time: January 10, 2012 15:55
Edited time: January 10, 2012 20:31
Ron Paul (Chip Somodevilla/  Getty Images / AFP)

Ron Paul (Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images / AFP)

New Hampshire will host the nation’s first primary of 2012 on Tuesday, and although Election Day is still months away, it looks to be a heated matchup between President Obama and the top-tier Republican candidates.

­No matter which GOP hopeful walks away from New Hampshire with this win Wednesday morning, the frontrunners in the race for the Republican Party now all pose a viable threat to President Barack Obama according to the latest polling from CBS News. Conducted following last week’s slim win for Mitt Romney during the Iowa caucus, the results of the latest poll suggest that the big guns among the GOP are about to give Obama a run for his money.

When quizzed to choose between a top-tier Republican and Barack Obama, the current president managed to only escape the hypothetical race as the victor in a few instances.

In the imagined match-up between Obama and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the two are at a statistical tie.

In a poll of over 1,400 adults, 45 percent say that they would vote Ron Paul in a two-person race for the presidency against Barack Obama. The current commander-in-chief only managed to poll in 46 percent favoritism, putting the two in a statistical tie given the margin of error of 3 percentage points. In that make-believe race, Paul also secures 10 percent of the Democratic vote, even if running as a Republican. The congressman also surpasses the president in popularity among independent voters, garnering 47 percent of the vote from that group to Obama’s 40.

President Obama is guaranteed the victor in all of the other two-person match-ups imagined by CBS, except in the case of Obama against Mitt Romney. In such a race, the pool of voters polled give Romney the win with 47 percentage points to Obama’s 45, still putting a win for either a clear possibility given the 3 point margin of error.

Who will prevail in a race against Obama is a matter to be realized in only nine months’ time. Meanwhile, however, the results of the poll suggest one thing for sure. Mitt Romney’s reign as Republican Party frontrunner is waning as Ron Paul continues to soar with support.

“We’ve called this contest a two-man race between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, and this poll is further proof of that,” Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton says in a statement. “It also demonstrates Ron Paul’s support among independents, an important voting segment within which our candidate is strong.”

As the Rick Santorum campaign loses steam after a near-win in Iowa last week, the top-tier of GOP hopefuls continues to be former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Paul, despite a smear campaign waged against the Texas congressman by the establishment that seems to be running scared with the real possibility of a Paul presidency. Jon Huntsman has in recent days seen a surge in popularity and current polling out of Suffolk University suggest that he or Paul pose the only threat to Romney at this time.

“The battle for second place will be determined by which candidate has the best field organization to bring out the votes today,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, writes Tuesday. “A good get-out-the-vote-operation accounts for up to 5 points, which can impact an expected outcome.”

While Suffolk’s latest polling released Tuesday still put Romney on top, his popularity slipped during the five consecutive days preceding the primary. Ron Paul has maintained a solid presence in second place throughout the campaign in New Hampshire. Last week in Iowa, Paul walked away with third place in a victory that yielded Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to suspend her run.

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