Ron Paul Gaining Momentum in New Hampshire

Romney dips as Paul climbs polls ahead of Tuesday's primary.

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Republican debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul and Mitt Romney participate in the ABC News, Yahoo! News, and WMUR Republican Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College January 7, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul says he is gradually catching up to front-runner Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.

Paul didn't get much media attention when he made that claim at Sunday's New Hampshire debate, but the latest polls bear him out.

In a new Suffolk University/7News tracking survey released Monday, 33 percent of likely voters in Tuesday's Republican presidential primary say they are backing Romney, with Paul in second place at 20 percent. Romney's lead is somewhat shrinking while Paul is slightly gaining, along with former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, who is in third place with 13 percent.

[See pictures of the 2012 GOP candidates.]

The Suffolk/7News polls showed that Romney had slipped to 35 percent from 39 percent in a single day, while Paul was in second place with 20 percent, a rise from 17. Huntsman was in third place with 11 percent, up from 9. The other candidates were substantially behind.

Computing the average of several recent polls, Real Clear Politics also finds Romney in the lead and Paul in second place.

Paul argues that his candidacy is gaining momentum because his libertarian philosophy is so consistent and contrasts so sharply with the views of the other candidates in the Republican race. Paul wants to slash federal spending, abolish several departments, and withdraw American troops from many missions around the worid.

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