Suffolk University produces the first of the polls from New Hampshire after Mitt Romney’s razor-thin win over Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses, and … nothing much has changed.  Romney continues to lead by more than 2-1 over his nearest competitor in this tracking poll series, the same as he did in the two days preceding the caucuses this week.  All of the changes are within the margin of error.

Here are the numbers today, with Tuesday’s reported numbers in parentheses:

  • Romney – 41% (43%)
  • Paul – 18 (16)
  • Santorum – 8 (5)
  • Huntsman 7 (10)
  • Gingrich – 7 (9)
  • Perry – >1 (2)

These are two-day tracking polls of 250 likely voters each day, using both cell and land lines for live telephone interviews (no robocalls).  The sample consists of 51% Republicans and 46% independents, which should have given a significant boost to Paul, who still languishes more than 20 points behind Romney.  The age mix is heavy among 45-64YOs, and those above 65 years of age comprise more than a quarter of the respondents.  It’s evenly split between Tea Party adherents and non-TP supporters, but 49% consider themselves conservative, 39% moderate, and only 6% liberal.

The negligible change in standing among the contestants show how difficult it will be for any of the candidates to knock Romney off his perch.  Suffolk didn’t supply demographic cross-tabs for this poll, but 63% of those surveyed say it’s unlikely they will change their mind, with a third (33%) saying it’s “somewhat likely.”  If Republicans had a few weeks to campaign in New Hampshire, one or more of them might break through that and seriously challenge Romney, but the primary is five days from now.  Absent an uncharacteristic and game-changing error from Romney in the debates the next few days, the best that anyone can hope to do is change the order of finish below Romney.  Santorum could use a second-place finish above Ron Paul, but ten points is going to be a tall order this week.

Update: Just to clarify, the tracking poll surveys 250 different people a day and reports on a two-day rolling basis, so the poll sample is actually 500 likely voters.  That’s a fairly substantial sample, especially for a small state like New Hampshire.