Surprising New Hampshire Numbers

The American Research Group has released companion New Hampshire primary polls the results of which are a bit surprising for both parties.

The ARG survey (1/12-15; 600 NH likely Republican primary voters; 406 Republican voters; 194 Independent voters; live interview) sees former President Donald Trump and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley now tied as the candidates turn the corner toward the Granite State primary on January 23rd. Both candidates were drawing 40% support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and now-ex presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy were attracting only 4% apiece.

New Hampshire has been Mr. Trump’s weakest polling state among the pre-Super Tuesday primary and caucus entities. In the ARG polling series, Ms. Haley’s support has grown from 29% in their December 20th survey to 33% in the January 3rd version, and now 40%. Mr. Trump, however, has also gained support in the polling progression from 33, to 37, to now 40%.

ARG is the only pollster to show the race this close. The recent St. Anselm College, Emerson College, CNN/University of New Hampshire, and the Suffolk University/USA Today surveys project Mr. Trump with leads of 14, 16, 7, and 20 points, respectively.

The survey research firm also tested the Democratic presidential primary in a series of four polls beginning with their release on December 20th. The current study (1/12-15; 600 NH likely Democratic primary voters; 452 Democratic voters; 148 Independent voters; live interview), finds US Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) posting his best standing against President Biden. According to the results, Mr. Biden, clearly identified as a write-in candidate on the questionnaire, would lead Rep. Phillips 58-28%, with author Marianne Williamson drawing 3%.

Based upon ARG’s four-poll series, Mr. Phillips has consistently increased his support from 17% on December 20th, to 21, 26, and now 28% in the January 15th poll. The Congressman has been advertising heavily in New Hampshire. In those same polls, President Joe Biden increased his share from 51 to 58%, but has remained stagnant in the two most recent surveys.

Other pollsters don’t see Rep. Phillips as strong. In data released January 9th and 11th, Suffolk University/USA Today projects the President holding a whopping 64-6% lead over Mr. Phillips. The CNN/University of New Hampshire ballot test results agree. They record a 69-7% Biden advantage. Within this group only the latest Emerson College poll finds Rep. Phillips breaking into double digits. EC calculates a 49-16% spread in the President’s favor.

Similar to Ms. Haley on the Republican side, Rep. Phillips actually leads Mr. Biden among the Independent voters who plan to participate in the Democratic primary according to ARG. The Independent/Democrats break 46-32% for Phillips. The registered Democrats support the President, 67-22%.

The New Hampshire primary is January 23rd, but Mr. Biden chose to bypass the state because the Granite State did not agree to the proposed Democratic National Committee primary calendar changes. Therefore, voters wanting to support the President must write in his name.

The question remains as to whether Haley and Phillips getting close to Trump and Biden in New Hampshire would have much of an effect upon the national nomination campaign. Could the state be the starting point for new trends, or will more favorable challenger results only prove a blip on the path to convincing national primary victories for both the President and former President?

Chances are good that the latter scenario will occur. New Hampshire results don’t tend to be particularly reliable national predictors. For the Republicans since 1976, the non-incumbent winner of the Granite State primary has gone on to win the GOP nomination just four times. For the Democrats, they too see only four of the New Hampshire winners carrying through to become the party’s national standard bearer.

At this point, particularly when looking at other state polls around the country, it appears that the New Hampshire results are more likely an outlier than a new trend setter. Even so, we may be primed to see some interesting results come next Tuesday.

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