BOSTON – A majority of Massachusetts voters do not think Republican Gov. Mitt Romney (search) should run for president in 2008, according to a poll released Friday.
The poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center found that 53 percent of respondents said Romney should not seek the White House, while 28 percent said he should.
Nearly half of those polled also said they thought Romney would not make a good president if elected. A third of respondents said he would.
Romney, who gained national prominence for his work on the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, has said he is focused on keeping the governor's office in 2006, but he has done little to quell speculation about a possible run for president in 2008.
Romney has assembled a fund-raising operation to distribute money to GOP candidates outside of Massachusetts, including those in top presidential primary states. He also recently spoke to Republican activists in the key primary state of South Carolina and is shifting to the right on some issues like stem cell research.
However, even Republicans in Massachusetts do not seem to overwhelmingly back a presidential run. Thirty-nine percent of Republicans polled said Romney should not seek the White House, while 35 percent said he should.
"I think he makes an excellent governor," voter Paul Grisham told The Boston Globe, which published the results. "But as a Republican, I think the party would be better served with someone with a more diverse and experienced background than Romney."
Romney's re-election prospects also looked uncertain. In a potential matchup with Democratic Attorney General Thomas Reilly (search) for governor in 2006, voters preferred Reilly 48 to 41 percent.
In the same poll, 34 percent said Sen. John Kerry (search), the Massachusetts Democrat who drew strong support here for his 2004 White House campaign, should run again for president, while 57 percent said he should not.
The poll of 501 people was taken March 5-8. It had an error margin of 4.4 percentage points.