Mitt Romney 2016: Former GOP Nominee Leads Early Polls Despite Denying Plans To Run

Mitt Romney has surged to the top of the 2016 GOP presidential race, but it still may not be enough to spur the former Massachusetts governor and two-time presidential loser to run again.

A new poll showed that Romney is ahead of the GOP pack in the important early battleground of New Hampshire, which has the chance to shape the 2016 GOP primary.

The Suffolk University-Boston Herald poll found that Mitt Romney finished far ahead of other potential candidates, and by quite a wide margin. Romney scored 24 percent of the vote against a field that also included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who finished with 9 percent. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) came in third with 8 percent of the vote.

But Mitt Romney has been clear that he has no intention to run.

“I’m not running for president,” Romney said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I’ve said that so many times.”

Romney has also stated concern with having the stigma as a “loser” after falling to John McCain in the 2008 GOP primaries and then again to Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

The Washington Post explains how the latest New Hamphire poll may have been so good for Romney, even when he’s made it clear that he doesn’t want to run. The report noted:

“First, Romney’s existing name recognition and popularity in the state probably explain a large part of why he does so well in the poll. He easily won the New Hampshire Republican primary for president in 2012 and was governor in neighboring Massachusetts before that. He even has a house in the Granite State.

“Secondly, while Christie, Paul and others have been raising their national media profiles, New Hampshire voters are still not nearly as familiar with them. Romney has been a staple of New Hampshire politics since the lead-up to the 2008 elections.”

But even if he is not running, Mitt Romney is increasing his stature within the party. He has used his extensive fundraising network to support GOP candidates, and had a 12 for 12 record in candidates he supported in Republican primaries. Many believe Mitt’s money could be key to Republicans seizing the Senate from Democrats.

“I don’t think he’s ever been more popular than he is today,” said Spencer Zwick, one of the leaders of Romney’s fundraising campaign. “He has had a knack for picking winners.”

Political insiders aren’t counting out a 2016 presidential run for Mitt Romney, however. Many candidates have been known to deny their intentions until ready to run. If there is enough grassroots support, then Romney could be cajoled back for White House run No. 3.