UMass Lowell Poll: Trump Appears Poised to Win Today’s N.H. Republican Primary

Nikki Haley speaking at an event in Ankeny, Iowa. (Photograph Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore.)

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Former President Donald Trump appears poised to win today’s New Hampshire Republican presidential primary by a 16-point margin over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, according to new poll results issued by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion and YouGov.

Of 600 likely N.H. Republican primary voters surveyed, 50% endorse Trump as the state GOP’s nominee, while 34% support Haley. Poll results show Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis trails at 11%, with 4% undecided and 1% responding they plan to vote for another candidate. The poll was conducted prior to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ suspension of his presidential campaign Sunday.

The findings halve Trump’s 32-point victory over Haley in the Iowa caucuses last week and show a tightening in the race, in contrast to responses to a UMass Lowell-YouGov poll issued in December. In that survey of 450 likely Granite State Republican primary voters, 52% said they would vote for Trump and 22% would vote for Haley, once the former president’s ambassador to the United Nations.

“While the race is now closer, Donald Trump is clearly the frontrunner and the fundamentals of the contest remain the same,” said UMass Lowell’s John Cluverius, the center’s director of survey research and an associate professor of political science. “Anything can happen in New Hampshire, but to win, Haley needs to be very good and very lucky.”

In the current poll, findings show Haley enjoys a 61% favorability rating among respondents—just a point behind Trump at 62%. Even so, 51% of respondents said Trump would be more likely to defeat President Joe Biden in the general election, while 31% believe Haley would more likely win that matchup.

Trump voters are also the most stalwart among the candidates’ supporters, as 81% responded they would definitely vote for him, while 19% said they could change their mind. In contrast, 70% of Haley’s supporters signaled they would definitely vote for her, while 30% said they could change their minds. When asked who would win the N.H. Republican primary, 59% responded Trump, and 61% said he would go on to win the Republican nomination for president.

The poll also examined attitudes about the last presidential race. When asked whether Trump or Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, 56% of respondents replied Trump was probably (24%) or definitely (32%) the winner, including 64% of self-identified Republicans in the sample.

In addition, 58% of respondents said they strongly (34%) or somewhat (24%) support full pardons for all individuals who participated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Forty-two percent of voters responded they strongly (26%) or somewhat (16%) oppose such pardons.

“Donald Trump’s false claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 election continue to shape Republican electorates, including primary voters in New Hampshire,” said UMass Lowell Professor Joshua Dyck, the center’s director and political science department chair. “The looming Trump v. Biden rematch will certainly be a relitigation of 2020. As much as general election voters may not have an appetite for that as the central theme of 2024, Republican primary voters do.”

The poll also surveyed voters’ opinions on the Granite State race for governor. There, former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte leads former N.H. Senate President Chuck Morse in a potential Republican primary race by 32 points, 54% to 22%. One percent of respondents said they plan to vote for another candidate, and 23% are undecided. Ayotte leads across all demographic categories.

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