MANCHESTER, United States, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney Tuesday scored an easy victory in the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, CNN reported.
The former Massachusetts governor won 36 percent of the vote, followed by Texas congressman Ron Paul with 24 percent, the U.S. broadcaster projected while the ballots were still being calculated.
Romney's win was well expected as he has for months enjoyed a double-digit lead over other candidates in opinion polls. He viewed New Hampshire as his impregnable fortress as he was the governor of neighboring Massachusetts and even has a vacation home in the state.
He has campaigned for years in the state both for himself and his GOP colleagues.
Paul, who finished a close third in the Iowa caucuses, again demonstrated his competitiveness. His performance in New Hampshire was a little better than expected, partly thanks to a large turnout of independent voters, many of whom are Paul's supporters.
Among other competitors in the field, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman won 18 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum were essentially tied at 10 percent.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who largely skipped New Hampshire, came in at the bottom of the pack at 1 percent.