For Romney, size of any NH victory may shape race

January 10, 2012 - 2:27 AM

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — While Mitt Romney is the overwhelming favorite to win the New Hampshire presidential primary, the size of his expected victory could help shape upcoming contests.

Romney's opponents will try to shrug off a convincing win as the unsurprising outcome for a former Massachusetts governor who owns a vacation home in the state.

But a narrow win in the nation's first presidential primary — or a surprisingly strong finish by a rival — will be played up as evidence that Republicans have their doubts about Romney.

Those doubts were on display in the tiny New Hampshire village of Dixville Notch, which traditionally votes at midnight. Romney and Jon Huntsman each received two of the six votes cast for Republicans. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul received a vote apiece.