Donald Trump is holding the edge in the Republican primary race, but his lead may be narrowing, a new poll among New Hampshire voters recently showed. Against this backdrop, one political analyst says a real race could be emerging in the GOP fray.
The results were based on a survey of 1,946 Granite State Panel members, comprising of likely Republican primary voters from New Hampshire, that was carried out during the Nov. 10-14 period. The survey was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center on behalf of CNN.
What Happened: When New Hampshire voters were asked who they would support for Republican nomination if the 2024 New Hampshire primary were held that day, 42% said they would vote for Trump. Former South Carolina Governor and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was the first choice of 20% of the respondents, followed by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, with 14% support.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and North Carolina Governor Doug Burgum were backed by 9%, 8% and 2% of the respondents respectively. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson drew a blank.
Trump’s support primarily came from registered GOP voters, with 42% of them backing him, while only 24% of those who were “unregistered but said they would vote for the Republican party” sided with him. Among the unregistered voters, 25% backed Haley and 24% supported Christie.
In response to which candidate they would not vote for under any circumstance, 47% of respondents chose Christie. The next candidate was Trump, with 32% of respondents saying they would not vote for the former president under any circumstances.
Trump was chosen by 57% of the respondents as having the best chance of winning the 2024 presidential election. About 15% said they weren’t sure about his electability. Haley received 15% of the support, while the remaining candidates received support in the single digits.
The former president received the highest percentage support — 58% to be exact — when respondents were asked whom they would trust to handle economic policies. About 29% expressed confidence in Haley.
More importantly, unregistered voters who could sway to either side made up 43% of the respondents. This, according to CNN, is more than the 36% of similar voters who participated in the 2016 GOP primary, when Trump won the nomination.
Why It’s Important: The election in New Hampshire is important because it is the first in a series of nationwide primary elections and follows the Iowa caucuses. On Wednesday, New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan announced that the state would hold its 2024 presidential primary on Jan. 23 following the Iowa caucus on Jan. 15.
“It’s a little start, shine, and rainbow,” said David Freedlander, contributor to New York Magazine, in an MSNBC interview, while discussing Haley’s chances. If the former governor keeps the race close in Iowa and New Hampshire and wins South Carolina, it is possible that a real race could happen, he said.
Trump has received below 50% support in Iowa and New Hampshire, and South Carolina is Haley’s state, Freedlander noted.
Weighing on whether Super Tuesday, the day when Trump’s federal election interference case begins in Washington D.C., would serve as a reminder to primary voters about his 91 felony charges and alleged involvement in the January 6 insurrection, the political analyst said those matters haven’t had enough impact on him so far.
“We never thought we get race, but it kind of sort of maybe looks like we’re getting race,” he said.
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