Alternate headline: “Mitt Romney’s dream comes true.” How could these numbers be better for him? He’s creeping up on an outright majority and he has Paul poised to kill Santorum’s and Gingrich’s momentum before South Carolina by taking second comfortably.

But maybe that’s about to change:

Except for Huntsman’s numbers, those post-Iowa figures are nearly identical to what Rasmussen found in his own poll of New Hampshire. Santorum’s obviously getting a bounce here and Paul’s begun to slip, possibly because some of his more tepid supporters were convinced by Iowa that he really doesn’t have a shot at the nomination. The problem for Santorum, as Weigel notes, is that it’s hard to see where he picks up any new votes. Newt and Huntsman probably won’t sink much further than they have, and Paul’s voters are the least likely in the field to drop him for Santorum. There aren’t many undecideds left either. Only Romney’s pool is available to him, and that’s a problem too: If Santorum tacks towards the center to try to peel moderates away from Romney, he jeopardizes his chances with more conservative voters in South Carolina, a state that’s more important to him. Everyone’s expecting a big Romney pile-on tomorrow night but I’m starting to think Santorum and Paul might spend more time attacking each other as they jockey for second place. Besides, Newt will be throwing punches at Romney all night long. No need to waste time following his lead.

Speaking of which, here’s Paul’s new ad carpet-bombing Santorum for being a big-government conservative. You’ll be pleased to know that Paul himself once again refused to rule out a third-party run when asked this afternoon, even as he competes for the Republican nomination. Exit quotation: “I’ll decide that later.”

Update: Just across from NBC, another poll of New Hampshire: Romney 42, Paul 22, Santorum 13, Gingrich 9, Huntsman 9. This one was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, after the Iowa results, so it’s good news for both Santorum fans and Paul fans compared to the post-Iowa results above. Two data points I almost can’t believe:

Romney still underperforms among conservative voters, Tea Party supporters and evangelical Christians in the state — but not to the extent he did in Iowa.

Indeed, he leads among very conservative voters (getting 30 percent to 27 percent for Santorum), Tea Party supporters (35 percent to Paul’s 25 percent) and evangelical Christians (31 percent to Santorum’s 30 percent).

Mitt Romney, true conservative. And then there’s this:

Forty-three percent of likely voters find Paul unacceptable, versus 25 percent who say the same about Santorum.

Meanwhile, 44 percent find Gingrich unacceptable, and 54 percent find Perry unacceptable.

More voters find Rick Perry unacceptable than Ron Paul?