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As New Hampshire Heads To Polls, All Eyes Are On Mitt Romney

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney addresses a rally at McKelvie Intermediate School in Bedford, N.H., on Monday.
Emmanuel Dunand
AFP/Getty Images
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney addresses a rally at McKelvie Intermediate School in Bedford, N.H., on Monday.

Some in New Hampshire have already cast their votes this morning. As they do traditionally, voters in Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, both small northern New Hampshire towns, cast their ballots shortly after midnight.

The Washington Post reports on the results:

"Romney tied with former Utah governor Jon Huntsman (R) in Dixville Notch, with each candidate winning a total of two votes out of nine cast. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) took one vote, as did Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). The remaining three voters cast their ballots for President Obama.

"In Hart's Location, Romney took five votes, compared to four votes for Paul. Huntsman took two votes, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) took one and Gingrich took one."

As if we had to remind you, today is the second contest of this primary season, and if you look at polls, the state is Mitt Romney's to lose. The former Massachusetts governor has had a sizable lead over his opponents. A University of New Hampshire poll released yesterday had Romney taking 41 percent of the vote. Ron Paul followed at a distant second with 17 percent.

As CBS News puts it, if Romney manages a win, he becomes the first non-incumbent Republican to win both Iowa and New Hampshire "since the modern presidential nomination process was established in the 1970s."

We'll leave you with some early headlines:

-- Time's Swampland says while Romney's New Hampshire win is looking close to certain, "an unexpected nail-biter could dampen the case for his inevitability."

-- After Newt Gingrich began criticizing Romney's business record, Slate asks if his biggest asset is also the "Bain of His Existence."

-- NPR's Scott Horsley looks at Romney's record at Bain Capital on Morning Edition.

-- And The Wall Street Journal has a bit more on what it calls Romney'sill-timed "You can fire them" comment from yesterday.

-- The margin of victory matters, reports the Boston Herald: "... The margin could determine whether it's a John Kerry victory — one that makes him virtually unstoppable heading South — or a Paul Tsongas victory, where the second-place finisher (in Tsongas' case, Bill Clinton) gets the real momentum."

-- Politico looks beyond New Hampshire and predicts a long primary fight.

-- CNN reports some polls in the state close as late as 8 p.m. ET.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.