Nikki Haley’s New Hampshire surge continues as a second poll in less than a week puts her well ahead of the rest of Donald Trump’s challengers and within 15 points of the frontrunner.
“Gov. Chris Sununu’s endorsement has provided rocket fuel to Nikki Haley’s campaign,” said New Hampshire GOP strategist Patrick Hynes. “We now have a competitive, two-person race. This is going to be fun!”
Sununu joined in via X with his own statement:
“She’s the candidate that turned this into a two-person race, the candidate with momentum to defeat Donald Trump in the NH Primary, and will defy the national media narrative as we reset the entire GOP primary for America!”
The news is all bad for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, however. In St A’s March 2023 survey, DeSantis was at 29 percent among Granite State Republicans and within 13 points of Trump. Today, he has the support of just six percent of GOP primary voters — half of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 12 percent support.
And a new Emerson College poll of Iowa GOP caucusgoers found DeSantis at 15 percent and in third place in the Hawkeye State, behind Trump (50 percent) and Haley (17 percent).
“The DeSantis campaign has nowhere to go. Nikki is beating him in Iowa and he’s an afterthought in New Hampshire,” a GOP strategist told NHJournal on background. “You have to be focused to run a successful presidential campaign, DeSantis chased every Twitter shiny object put in front of him.”
Vivek Ramaswamy is at five percent, and just one respondent said they supported former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
While Haley’s performance over the past three months has been impressive, New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque noted Trump continues to be in a strong position in the Granite State.
“After earning the key endorsement of New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, former Ambassador Nikki Haley has broken away from the pack pursuing former President Donald Trump and become the clear alternative,” Levesque said. “However, even after cutting Trump’s lead in half, she still trails as his support remains steady in the mid-40s. Trump’s supporters seem undeterred by the former president’s ongoing legal challenges.”
And “undeterred” may morph into “renewed support” for Trump in the wake of Tuesday’s ruling by four liberal justices on Colorado’s Supreme Court. Its 4-3 decision would use a first-of-its-kind interpretation of the 14th Amendment to ban Trump from appearing on the state’s ballot. (The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to weigh in.)
The Colorado ruling is widely expected to be overturned, and political observers say it is likely to boost Trump’s numbers as Republicans rally around Trump in the face of what they see as an unfair attack. It is the same dynamic that sent Trump’s support soaring in the wake of his indictment by a progressive Manhattan District Attorney. Trump has held a solid double-digit lead over the rest of the GOP field ever since.
The good — and bad — news for President Joe Biden in the St. Anselm poll is that, despite his attempt to kill their First in the Nation primary, half of Granite State Democrats say they plan to write in a vote for the president. (Biden refused to allow his name to appear on the New Hampshire ballot.)
In second place is “unsure” at 29 percent, while just 10 percent of respondents support Minnesota U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips. Author Marianne Williamson is at seven percent. Assuming Biden splits the undecided votes, he appears likely to avoid an embarrassingly close contest in the first primary of 2024.
At the same time, an incumbent president sitting in the White House with the support of just half of his party’s primary voters isn’t impressive.
“Joe Biden hovering at 50 percent is a clear reflection that even Democrats recognize ‘Bidenomics’ is a disaster and the impact of inflation is crushing them,” said Greg Moore, New Hampshire state director at Americans For Prosperity.
Despite Biden’s apparent weakness, however, he held a 10-point lead over Trump in a head-to-head New Hampshire matchup. Biden was at 49 percent, Trump at 39 percent, and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., running as an independent, was at eight percent.
“Illustrative of Trump’s looming problem in New Hampshire, a strong majority of Christie supporters indicate they would vote for President Joe Biden if Trump is the Republican nominee,” the poll summary noted. “Seventy-nine percent would vote for Biden, while only one percent would vote for Trump. A plurality of Haley supporters, 43 percent, would choose Biden over Trump.”