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UPDATE: Another bit of good news for Jon Huntsman out of New Hampshire: The GOP hopeful earned the endorsement of one of the state's largest newspapers on Thursday.
"Huntsman, a consistent but never doctrinaire conservative, would present the greatest challenge to Obama," wrote the editors of the Concord Monitor. "If elected, he would provide mature, informed and steady leadership."
Depending on what numbers you use, the Monitor is either the third or fourth largest paper in the Granite State. Its endorsement doesn't carry as much weight as, say, the New Hampshire Union Leader (which is backing Newt Gingrich) but it does give Huntsman another push in a state where he needs a strong performance early next year to keep his campaign alive.
The Monitor also had some less-than-flattering words for some of Huntsman's rivals. On Newt:
With Gingrich, voters would get an unpredictable, unprincipled nominee and, should he be elected, a white-knuckle four years of an imperial presidency.
And on Mitt:
With Romney, they wouldn't know who they would get: the moderate Mitt who was once pro-choice, in favor of a health-care mandate, a supporter of the auto industry bailout and a believer that human activity was contributing to climate change - or the newly conservative Romney, who opposes abortion, claims the reason for climate change is unknown, opposes a health insurance mandate and claims that bailing out Detroit was a mistake.
Thursday, Dec. 15: Looks like the @JonGirls2012 finally have something to sing about: A new poll out of New Hampshire shows a surprisingly strong performance by their father, Jon Huntsman, who sits at third place in the survey behind Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
Here are the big numbers from the 7 News/Suffolk University poll: Romney 38 percent, down 3; Gingrich 20 percent, up 6; Huntsman 13 percent, up 4; Ron Paul 8 percent, down 6; and everyone else with 3 percent or less. Eleven percent of respondents said they were undecided.
You can read the full poll here. Unsurprisingly, Huntsman's strong showing is thanks in large part to independents, who outnumber registered Republicans in New Hampshire. Huntsman, who is banking on independents showing up in strong numbers to support his campaign, outperformed Gingrich among that coveted group of likely voters, and trails Romney by only 11 percent.
"If independents participate in a big way next January, Huntsman will benefit," David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center, told the Christian Science Monitor. "While other candidates have focused on the more traditional Republican voters, Huntsman has traction among independents, who could dominate the Republican Primary if mobilized."