If Mitt Romney Were Running for President in 2016, He’d Win New Hampshire

Help us, Willard, you're our only hope against the Donald!

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to be the only Republican capable of stopping the runaway-and-no-longer-amusing candidacy of New York real estate mogul Donald Trump.

A new poll by Suffolk University and the Boston Globe found that in a hypothetical matchup between Romney and the rest of the Republican presidential field, including Trump, the 2012 presidential nominee would win the New Hampshire primary in a blowout. Romney tops the field of 2016 candidates with 31 percent of the vote, even though he is absolutely positively not running this time. No, really, he’s not running. Trump, a candidate with policy positions that are less coherent than an internet comment section, finished second in the hypothetical matchup with 14.6 percent of the vote. All other candidates were in the single digits.

Alas, when Romney wasn’t included as an option, we have to go back to the reality of Trump and Ben Carson, the current national frontrunners in the Republican field, as voters still favored them.

In that version of the primary, Trump leads the field of New Hampshire primary voters with 21.6 percent of the vote, while Florida senator Marco Rubio tops Carson for second in New Hampshire with 11 percent of the vote, compared to the neurosurgeon’s 10.2 percent. The rest of the field is in single digits.

The most remarkable thing about this poll, and, well, all polls of the presidential race as of late, is not Romney’s strong showing in New Hampshire, but Trump’s consistency. There was a time when Trump’s candidacy was seen merely as a flash in the pan, a flavor of the month, a summer fling, but those predictions have faded, as we’re on the precipice of December and he’s still at the top of the polls. The momentary stumble where it appeared Carson would overtake him has reverted to the natural order of things.

National polls are useful to get the pulse of the country on a candidate or issue, but they are relatively useless in determining who will win our state-based national election system. Trump is holding steady atop every state poll; New Hampshire is not some weird outpost still populated by Buchananites.

Trump’s presidential candidacy is no longer a joke— there’s a very real chance he could be the Republican nominee for president.