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The Demise of the “Not-Romney”?

All eyes are on Iowa for the next 48-hours, but Mitt Romney is still making impressive inroads in New Hampshire, according to today’s Suffolk University/7News poll. Romney’s support is growing in the state, but the spike in voter intensity is probably the best news for him out of this poll:

The poll shows Romney leading with 43 percent of the vote – up 2 points from a day earlier, followed by Ron Paul (17 percent), Jon Huntsman (9 percent), and Newt Gingrich (8 percent), while another 7 percent was split among GOP hopefuls Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. Fifteen percent remain undecided. …

Romney voters appear unlikely to change their minds about their choice as primary day approaches. Seventy-three percent of Romney voters now say they are unlikely to change their minds about their choice, compared to 64 percent of Huntsman voters and 60 percent of Paul voters.

The reason so many of Romney’s primary opponents have been able to rise so quickly in the polls is because GOP voters have been trying their hardest to avoid settling with him. But after auditioning Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, and now Santorum, voters are running out of alternatives.

This poll seems to signify that New Hampshire voters have given up looking for the “not-Romney” candidate, and are now ready to fall in line behind the probable frontrunner. The fact that 73 percent of New Hampshire Romney supporters say they are unlikely to switch candidates doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re enthusiastic about Romney. It could just mean they’ve exhausted all other options, and decided he’s the best they’re going to do. The question now is whether this perception will spread, and that will have a lot to do with who finishes on top in Iowa.