President Donald Trump is returning to New Hampshire on Monday, where he’ll be greeted by a cheering Granite State crowd and plenty of good campaign news. Both the latest polls and political events are headed in a positive direction for the former POTUS as he heads to Wolfeboro.
Trump is making his fifth appearance of the year in a state where he has the support of 45 percent of GOP primary voters, according to the RealClearAverage polling average, and where his support has been trending higher for weeks. He’s about 31 points ahead of his closest challenger, Nikki Haley, who’s at 14 points after a post-debate surge.
As large as that margin is, Trump actually has an even bigger lead in Iowa and South Carolina. In national polling, Trump is approaching 60 percent support.
And Trump got more good news from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is expected to announce Monday he’s running as an independent rather than challenging Biden in the Democratic Primary. Without Kennedy’s name on the Democratic ballot, some of those anti-establishment, anti-vax voters may pick of a GOP ballot, and they’ll likely to be Trump voters.
(This could be a problem for Trump in the general election, however, if Kennedy pulls away more votes from him than from President Biden.)
And then there are the political stories dominating the news, which are currently working in Trump’s favor.
Last week the Biden administration appeared to flip-flop on funding more border wall, before announcing that while they are building some 20 more miles of the fence, they still oppose it. The story had even left-leaning reporters calling it a win for Trump.
Just a few days later, a new UNH Survey Center poll found support for a wall surging among Granite State voters. In 2017, just 34 percent supported it, while 61 percent were opposed. Now 50 percent of New Hampshire voters are on board — and even that number is misleading. Support for the wall is at 68 percent among independent voters, with just 19 percent opposed. That’s a terrible number for Joe Biden and the Democrats in a blue-trending state.
The UNH poll also found that 81 percent of Granite Staters say illegal immigration is a serious problem, with 59 percent saying it’s “very serious.” Even 61 percent of Democrats say there’s a problem at the border. That all bodes well for Trump.
And then there is the biggest political issue of the moment, the Hamas invasion of Israel. Trump’s response was what voters have come to expect.
“THE HORRIBLE ATTACK ON ISRAEL, MUCH LIKE THE ATTACK ON UKRAINE, WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF I WERE PRESIDENT – ZERO CHANCE!” he posted on Truth Social.
While many dismiss Trump’s statements as hyperbole, polls show more Americans trust Trump and the GOP to keep America safe from foreign threats than Biden and the Democrats. The more chaos there is in international affairs, from Ukraine to the southern border to Israel, the better for Trump.
Republicans like Gov. Chris Sununu, who oppose nominating the party nominating Trump a third time, insist that
Many Granite State GOP insiders believe that, unless something unforeseen happens, Trump’s victory in the First in the Nation primary is all but inevitable.
“It’s Trump’s party, we’re just living in it,” one New Hampshire Republican activist quipped.
Granite State Republicans are reluctant to make these statements on the record, in part from a desire to protect the primary itself. “We need New Hampshire to stay relevant. If it’s going to be Trump, it’s going to be Trump. It doesn’t help us to have [Republican presidential candidates] write us off,” one GOP insider said.
But there is also a belief among some Republicans that, as Gov. Chris Sununu continues to predict, Granite State voters may offer a more mixed verdict. Haley appears to be a good fit for the Granite State, they argue, and Chris Christie is campaigning hard here, too. It’s possible New Hampshire may surprise, some longtime GOP strategists say.
“There still is time for another Republican to emerge — hello Nikki Haley — and then the race is about Biden’s negatives,” says veteran New Hampshire politico Tom Rath.
“Polls tell us what would happen if the election was held now — and it’s not. As the Supremes so accurately told us, sometimes we just have to wait,” Rath said.
But pollster Frank Luntz told USA Today that opponents of another Trump presidency are already hitting the panic button — and with good reason.
“On a 0 to 10 scale, it’s an 11,” Luntz said. “With Donald Trump indicted so many times and in such legal trouble, for Joe Biden to be only tied, and in some polls trailing, is a shock to the system and they should be thankful that polling exists.”