Paul Beat Romney 47 to 26 Among Young NH Voters, Says Exit Poll

By Elizabeth Harrington | January 11, 2012 | 11:03am EST

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a Republican presidential candidate, and 3-month-old Heide Lange in Dubuque, Iowa on Dec. 22, 2011. (AP Photo)

( – Rep. Ron Paul of Texas won by a large margin among young voters in New Hampshire’s presidential primary on Tuesday, according to the exit poll published by CNN.

In the full actual primary count, Paul won 23 percent, finishing second to Romney’s 39 percent.

According to the exit poll, however, Paul won 47 percent of voters 18-to-29. Romney was second in that age group with 26 percent, 21 points behind Paul, former Utah Governor Jon Hunstman was third with 14 percent, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was fourth with 7 percent,and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was fifth with 3 percent.

Paul also won 35 percent of voters in 30-to-39 bracket, while Romney was close behind with 33 percent.

In a statement sent to, Paul's press secretary, Gary Howard, said: "Congressman Paul has a strong and consistent message that resonates with a wide range of people, but young people in particular appreciate his honesty and his character. They realize the mess that the establishment status quo politicians have put us in, and recognize that Ron Paul is the only candidate seriously challenging the status quo."

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a thumbs up as he campaigns on primary election day outside of a polling station at Webster School in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Romney won the 45-to-64 and 65 and older age brackets with 42 percent for both groups.

Paul earned the most from unmarried voters (35 percent); the most voters who had never voted in a GOP primary (40 percent); the most Independents (32 percent); the most somewhat liberal (33 percent); the most with no religious affiliation (47 percent); and among those who had an unfavorable opinion of Arizona Senator John McCain (33 percent).

The libertarian Republican tied with Romney for voters who earn less than $50,000 a year (31 percent).

As previously reported, Paul also won the majority of voters under 40 in the Iowa caucuses.  Paul finished third in that race with 21 percent, behind Romney and Santorum, each of whom earned 25 percent.  However, Paul won 50 percent of caucus-goers aged 17 to 24; 45 percent of caucus-goers aged 25 to 29; and 34 percent of the 30-to-39 age bracket.

The CNN Exit poll was based on 2,760 respondents.

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