Dual debates a chance to throw Romney off stride

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The former senator from Pennsylvania finished a surprisingly strong second in the Iowa caucuses, coming within eight votes of victory. But he has little time to try to convert that near-victory into a campaign organization in New Hampshire.

As of last month, New Hampshire had about 232,000 registered Republicans, 223,000 Democrats and 313,000 undeclared voters, who can vote in either primary. The state also allows same-day voter registration at the polls.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner says he expects 250,000 ballots to be cast in Tuesday’s highly contested Republican presidential primary. In 2008, when both sides had contested races, just over 241,000 ballots were cast in the GOP primary and 289,000 in the Democratic primary.

Looking ahead, a Time/CNN poll in South Carolina showed Romney leading Santorum with 37 percent of the vote.

Santorum is set to leave Sunday for South Carolina for a half-day of campaigning. Romney has events planned in New Hampshire through primary day on Tuesday.

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Associated Press writer Beth Fouhy in Concord contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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