New Hampshire Republicans hoping swing voters will rescue their party from another Donald Trump nomination by flocking to the primary and backing one of his opponents are likely to be disappointed.
And in a general election, those Granite State “swingers” are just as split over Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump as the rest of the electorate.
That was the finding of an exclusive new poll from NHJournal and co/efficient [sic] of the 40,000 or so Granite State “swing voters.” They are active primary voters who have cast ballots in both a GOP and Democratic presidential primary over the past four cycles.
And whether they identify themselves as Republicans, Democrats, or independents, they have much in common. For example, they really don’t like either party’s likely nominee.
Both Biden and Trump are viewed favorably by just 33 percent of those voters, and both are viewed unfavorably by 57 percent. Democrat-turned-independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is viewed even more unfavorably, at 22 to 44 percent.
That likely explains why, when asked to pick among the three, the swing voters were nearly evenly split between Biden (36 percent) and Trump (35 percent). RFK Jr. was at 12 percent and 16 percent undecided.
In a state that Biden won by eight points in 2020 and has only backed a Republican once since 1992, that isn’t a great number for the GOP. It needs to pick up a solid majority of the truly swing voters to make up for the state’s inherent lean toward Democrats.
Current voter registrations are virtually tied between the two parties at around 270,000, with 344,000 registered as unaffiliated. However, most of those unaffiliated voters historically vote in just one party’s primary. In other words, they are self-identified Republicans or Democrats who don’t want to register as a member of the party they tend to support.
And for president, that tendency is toward Democrats.
However, there is good news for the GOP, said co/efficient pollster Ryan Munce. “This year, 71 percent of these voters are extremely likely to vote in the GOP primary. Among that group, 33 percent back Trump, followed by Chris Christie at 21 percent and Nikki Haley at 19 percent. The rest, including Ron DeSantis, are at five percent or lower.”
Among the entire sample, Trump’s lead is more narrow, at 27 percent, with Christie at 22 percent and Haley at 19 percent.
And in the current political climate, the most important number may be this: By a 51 to 40 percent margin, these voters believe America was stronger under Trump than it is under Joe Biden.
In fact, these swing voters feel a lot better about Republican leadership than the Democratic alternatives on a wide range of issues.
- Republicans would do a better job solving the inflation problem than Democrats (53-33 percent)
- They trust Republicans more than Democrats on foreign policy and keeping America safe (51-36 percent)
- Republicans would do a better job protecting and growing the middle class (45-40 percent)
- On securing the southern border, they trust Republicans far more than Democrats (58-19 percent).
“These numbers are an indicator that the swing and independent population of the state is likely to break to the right during the general election, whether or not Trump is at the top of the ticket,” Munce said. “I really don’t see much anti-Trump sentiment here as much as anti-Biden and concerns about Democrats.”
Munce agreed Republicans will need to win these voters to have a shot a winning the general election next year. The support for Gov. Chris Sununu (56 to 28 percent) is another sign they are potential GOP voters.
“Polls are a snapshot in time, not predictions of the future,” Munce said. “But if I were to prognosticate on these numbers, I would say that the vast majority of RFK voters and undecided voters break right in the general election because of the fairly consistent responses to the ‘who do you trust’ questions.”