Former President Donald Trump remains the frontrunner in New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary, with GOP rival Nikki Haley firmly in second place.
But the big question with two weeks to go until New Hampshire holds the first primary and second overall contest in the Republican nomination calendar following the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses is how formidable is Trump’s lead?
Two polls released on Tuesday paint very different pictures.
A University of New Hampshire/CNN survey shows Haley within striking distance of Trump, who remains the commanding frontrunner in the latest polls in Iowa and in national surveys as he makes his third straight White House run.
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Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley speaks at a town hall in Rye, New Hampshire, on Jan. 2, 2023. (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)
Trump stands at 39% in the UNH/CNN survey among those likely to vote in New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary, with Haley at 32%. The poll of 1,864 New Hampshire voters likely to cast a ballot in the state’s Republican presidential primary was conducted online Jan. 4-8.
But a Suffolk University/Boston Globe/USA Today survey indicates Trump holding a 19-point lead over Haley, 46% to 27%. The survey of 1,000 voters was conducted by live operators to landlines and mobile phones from Jan. 3-7.
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Haley, a former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, has soared in recent months, thanks in part to her well-regarded performances in the first three Republican presidential primary debates.
Over the past month, Haley has caught up with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the latest Iowa polls and in national surveys, for a distant second place behind Trump.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, in Durham, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Reba Saldanha)
And Haley has surged to second place and narrowed the gap with Trump in New Hampshire. Helping to boost Haley in New Hampshire, where independent voters play a crucial role in the state’s storied primary, is popular Gov. Chris Sununu, who backed her last month and has repeatedly joined her on the campaign trail in both the Granite State and Iowa.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a vocal anti-Trump Republican, stands at 12% support in polls, for a distant third place.
DeSantis and multimillionaire entrepreneur and first-time candidate Vivek Ramaswamy stand in the single digits in both surveys.
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Christie is once again staking his presidential campaign on New Hampshire as he makes a second bid for the White House following an unsuccessful run in the 2016 cycle.
Christie has rejected recent calls to end his campaign and back Haley in order to prevent a fracturing of the anti-Trump vote.
“You saw all these people tonight who don’t want me out of this race. They want to vote for me. And I suspect a lot of these people here, if I dropped out, wouldn’t vote at all, because she’s unwilling to take Trump on,” Christie told Fox News and other news organizations following a town hall in Hollis, New Hampshire, last Thursday, as he pointed toward Haley.
But the UNH poll suggests that nearly two-thirds of those supporting Christie would vote for Haley if he wasn’t in the race. The survey also indicated Haley grabbing 43% support from independent voters, with Christie at 23%.
“The race among Republicans is over. Every single poll that comes out is consistent if you look at the crosstabs,” longtime New Hampshire-based GOP strategist Michael Dennehy told Fox News, as he pointed to Trump’s dominance among registered Republican voters.
“The race comes down to independents and whether or not Nikki Haley can motivate enough undeclared voters to come out and overpower Donald Trump’s strength among Republicans,” Dennehy, a veteran of numerous Republican presidential campaigns, emphasized.
But Jim Merrill, another seasoned New Hampshire-based Republican consultant and presidential campaign veteran, highlighted that “regardless of the poll, I think the underlying message is that Nikki Haley is still on the move in New Hampshire, and she is the one candidate in the race who has a chance to knock off Donald Trump in New Hampshire. She’s within striking distance with two weeks to go.”
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