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Jeff Jacoby

‘Acceptable’ is pronounced ‘winner’

FOR ANYONE gauging the Republican presidential contest, this week’s most significant poll results weren’t the ones tabulated in New Hampshire last night. They were the ones released by Gallup yesterday morning.

To say such a thing is heresy, I realize, given the long months of New Hampshire campaigning and the media’s obsessive focus on the state over the last few weeks. But more telling than Mitt Romney’s long-expected victory in the Granite State — he drew about 38 percent of the vote, followed at a considerable distance by Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman — was Gallup’s finding that among Republicans (and Republican-leaning independents) nationwide, only the former Massachusetts governor is regarded as an “acceptable’’ GOP nominee across the ideological spectrum.

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