Romney Has Wide Lead Over Cain in NH: Perry at 4%

The latest University of New Hampshire Survey Center/WMUR poll shows former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with a wide lead over Herman Cain who finished a distant second:

Romney, a former governor from neighboring Massachusetts, leads the Republican field with 37 percent support in the poll released late on Friday by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center/WMUR. Cain trails with 12 percent, followed by Texas congressman Ron Paul at 9 percent and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman at 8 percent.

"Romney is solid here and has the highest favorability ratings, and he's had those for two years," said Andrew Smith, director of the polling group. "It's kind of an obstacle course for the front-runner, but as long as they make it through those obstacles they win."

In the polling group's last poll in July, Romney had 35 percent support.

New Hampshire's primary, traditionally the first in the nation, could be held in early January or even December following moves by other states to bring forward their primaries or caucuses.

New Hampshire's mostly moderate Republicans had little love for Tea Party favorites Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.

Texas Governor Perry drew just 4 percent, tied with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Minnesota congresswoman Bachmann lagged at just 2 percent.

Perry was not expected to do well in New Hampshire anyway so this poll is not really a surprise. Cain's current weakness also shows how entrenched Mitt Romney is in a state that borders Massachusetts and has many former Bay State residents who fled high tax hell in order to live in friendlier confines.