Polls show Trump ahead of Haley in New Hampshire primary

MANCHESTER, NH — With the race for the Republican presidential nomination now two-way, Donald Trump has a clear lead among New Hampshire voters over his last rival, Nikki Haley, ahead of Tuesday's primary here, the Washington Post reported. Monmouth University poll.

The poll found that 52 percent of primary voters support Trump and 34 percent support Haley. The poll has Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 8 percent, but the survey ended before DeSantis made his surprise announcement on Sunday that he was suspending his campaign.

Hawley's support has nearly doubled from 18 percent in November, appearing to benefit from the departure of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But Trump's support increased by six percentage points over the same period. While Trump may have benefited from the departure and endorsement of businessman Vivek Ramasamy, DeSantis, an immediate supporter of Trump, could gain more from the exit. If DeSantis' supporters in the poll are assigned based on their second choice, Trump's support rises by four points while Haley's support increases by two points.

Trump is buoyed by strong support from the party's conservative base, while Haley is consolidating support among moderates and independent voters who plan to participate in the GOP primary.

New Hampshire offers Haley the best opportunity to slow down the former president. Any independent or unaffiliated voter can participate in Tuesday's Republican primary, and she's making a big turnout to boost her standing enough to truly challenge Trump. But there has been little evidence that she has gained significant ground on Trump since finishing third in the Iowa caucuses last Monday.

Trump's supporters are more committed to coming out than Haley's. While Trump leads Haley by 18 points among all likely voters, his advantage grows to 28 points among voters who say they are “highly motivated” to vote in the Republican primary. Trump won the primary here eight years ago with 35 percent of the vote.

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Haley's favorability ratings among New Hampshire likely GOP primary voters have fallen: 46 percent of them favor the former UN ambassador, down from 56 percent in November.

His unfavorable ratings have increased from 31 percent in November to 40 percent now, a net six-point positive compared to a 25-point positive margin two months ago. The decline comes as Trump's campaign has attacked him, including ads that run regularly here.

Trump's favorability rating is a net positive of 23 points, with 59 percent of New Hampshire Republican primary voters rating him favorably and 36 percent unfavorably.

Detailed poll cross-sections are here

New Hampshire's undeclared voters, who are not registered as Republicans, have often played an important role in presidential elections. They accounted for 45 percent of primary voters in previous New Hampshire primaries and a Post Monmouth poll found that 47 percent of Republican primary voters are not registered Republicans.

A Post Monmouth poll found that these undeclared voters favor Haley by 10 points over Trump, 48 percent to 38 percent, an improvement for her from November. But Trump has a 42-point lead of 53 percent of registered Republicans: 64 percent to 22 percent for Haley, a margin unchanged since November.

Haley's advantage with undeclared voters will be key to her performance on Tuesday, with other polls showing mixed ratings for her support. A Suffolk University/Boston Globe/NBC-10 poll Results on January 18 and 19 saw similar results, with Haley leading among voters by eight points, but a CNN-UNH poll Haley led the team with 28 points on the field Jan. 16-19.

New Hampshire's relatively large moderate-to-liberal Republican electorate also gives Haley an opportunity. In this latest Post Monmouth poll, his share of the vote in this group has increased from 35 percent in November to 56 percent. But Haley struggles with conservatives, who make up the bulk of likely voters, with Trump enjoying a 68-point lead among very conservative voters and a 29-point lead among somewhat conservative voters.

Half of Republican voters in the New Hampshire primary believe Biden won the 2020 election due to “voter fraud” (51 percent), while 42 percent say he won in a “fair and just” election. That's a smaller percentage than Iowa Republican caucus attendees who said Biden wasn't legitimately elected, but it's still a reminder of how Trump's lies about the 2020 election have affected Republican attitudes.

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Those who believe false claims about voter fraud remain Trump's strongest supporters, with 82 percent backing him as the party's nominee and only 14 percent saying they support Haley and DeSantis. Those who believe Biden won the election support Haley by a larger margin: 71 percent compared to 14 percent for Trump.

A quarter (26 percent) of GOP voters in New Hampshire say Trump committed a crime in his response to the 2020 presidential election. Another 27 percent say he “did something wrong, but not guilty,” and 45 percent say he “did nothing wrong.”

Trump is confidently leading Haley to address four different issues among New Hampshire GOP voters. He enjoys a wide margin of confidence (62 percent to 26 percent) on his handling of immigration policy, which has been the focus of Trump's attacks against Haley. He also enjoys a large advantage on economic policy (58 percent to 29 percent).

Trump's U.N. He has a larger margin of trust for handling foreign policy (57 percent to 32 percent) than Haley, who served as ambassador. Their closest issue is abortion: 40 percent like Trump and 29 percent like Haley, with 22 percent saying they trust both equally.

New Hampshire Republican primary voters are relatively more liberal on abortion than Republicans elsewhere. It was a potential opening for Haley, who strongly opposes abortion, but urged Republicans to find a better way to talk about the issue at a time when Democrats have succeeded in portraying the party as serious on the issue.

More than half (56 percent) of likely Republican voters in the state say they think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 43 percent in a December post-Ipsos-538 poll of Republican voters nationwide. A Post-Monmouth poll found that 54 percent of New Hampshire Republican voters said they were somewhat concerned about the Republican Party's increased focus on abortion.

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GOP voters in New Hampshire favor Haley 49 percent to 38 percent over Trump who think abortion should be legal most or always. Among those who think abortion should be mostly or always illegal, Trump has 72 percent support to Haley's 14.

When looking at other demographic groups, Trump maintains a similar lead among men and women. He has a 33-point lead among voters without four-year college degrees, up from 46 points in November. Haley is doing well with 43 percent of college graduates, but Trump is close behind her with 39 percent support among this group.

Trump has a 52-point lead among white evangelical Christians, but a 10-point lead among non-evangelicals.

Fewer than 1 in 4 New Hampshire Republican voters say they were personally contacted to vote for a particular candidate (23 percent), compared to 49 percent in a 2016 Monmouth poll. Of those contacted, more say they heard from Haley's campaign than others.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has a 74 percent approval rating among Republican voters, but that hasn't translated into much support for Haley. Just 10 percent of likely GOP voters say they are more likely to support the former South Carolina governor because of his endorsement of his candidacy.

This Washington Post-Monmouth University poll of 712 likely voters in New Hampshire's Republican primary was conducted Jan. 16-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. The sample was drawn from a database of New Hampshire registered voters who registered as Republicans or undeclared; Likely voters include those who say they are certain, likely, or have a 50-50 chance of voting in the Republican primary. Interviews were completed by direct callers on cell phones and landlines, and via an online survey via cell phone text invitation.

Clement and Guskin report from Washington.

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