For Romney, size of NH victory may shape race

 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 in South Carolina and Florida.

Romney’s five opponents will try to shrug off a convincing victory as the expected outcome for a former Massachusetts governor who owns a vacation home here. But a narrow win in the nation’s first presidential primary — or a surprisingly strong finish from one of his rivals — will be played up as more evidence that Republicans still have their doubts about Romney.

Those doubts were on display in Dixville Notch, the tiny New Hampshire village that traditionally votes at midnight. Romney and Jon Huntsman each received two of the six votes cast; Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul received a vote apiece. The rest of New Hampshire voters go to the polls on Tuesday after receiving months of attention from the Republican candidates and witnessing an increasingly sharp tone in the intraparty struggle for the nomination.

“If I am president of the United States, I will not forget New Hampshire,” Romney said during a Monday night rally in Bedford, hinting at the impact of Tuesday’s contest.

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