EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 5, 2012

As primary nears, many voters still undecided

The GOP presidential primary is only five days away, but many Southern New Hampshire residents still aren't sure who they will vote for Tuesday.

Approximately 80 percent of the three dozen people interviewed yesterday said they just don't know who will get their support. Many, torn between two candidates, said they expect to decide this weekend.

But others said they will need a little more time to choose. They won't decide until they have the ballot in their hands.

"It's going to be when I walk in," said Chase Barr, 46, of Derry.

Barr said he's learning toward former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

"I think he's the smartest person on the planet," he said.

But of the slim percentage who are certain, the majority plan to back former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

"Mitt — he's my man," said Lynne Ulaky, 48, of Windham. "He's going to fix everything — and everything sure needs to be fixed."

Only a day after emerging victorious in the Iowa caucus, Romney continues to be the front-runner in New Hampshire, where he has consistently led in the polls.

Romney topped former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum by just eight voters Tuesday, but voters are still confident Romney is the Republican candidate to beat in next week's primary and in the November election.

"I like his honesty in about everything he does," said Walter Smith, 71, of Derry. "Hopefully, he gets elected and he can straighten out that guy in Washington."

Many voters still undecided

Ron Daren, 66, of Salem also is considering backing Romney. Daren said he thinks Romney has the most experience to lead the nation.

"I'm still undecided, but probably Romney," he said. "You need to run the country as a business and not as a bloody political football."

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