A new poll in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state shows former President Donald Trump leading the pack, followed at a distance by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and a New Hampshire native son.
The Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll also shows the youngest candidate in the race, 37-year-old Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy picking up a bit of momentum in the Granite State.
Conducted March 28-30, the poll surveyed 1,320 New Hampshire registered voters who say they intend to vote in the state’s 2024 Republican presidential primary.
Trump leads the increasingly crowded field of candidates, with 42 percent support, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, at 29 percent. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a moderate Republican, picked up 14 percent support.
The final top 5 contenders, according to the poll, are former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (4%) and Ramaswamy (3%).
Trump, Haley, and Ramaswamy are officially in the GOP presidential nomination chase. DeSantis is expected to announce later this spring. Sununu has said he’s “definitely thinking” about a run for president.
Former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who lost Wyoming’s lone seat in the House following her zealous targeting of Trump through the Democrat-dominated January 6 Committee, received 2 percent support. She was followed by several 1-percenters — including former Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).
The poll was conducted after Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury last week in connection with a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election, but before the former president was arrested and charged Tuesday.
Ramaswamy was the first GOP presidential contender to come to Trump’s defense following last week’s announced indictment. The anti-woke crusader and political outsider blasted DeSantis this week for waiting too long to stand up for Trump after the former president last month predicted he would be arrested. Ramaswamy called the governor “fundamentally uncourageous.”
“Anyone that’s coming in as sort of a professional politician, with all the plastic features, I don’t see our base ending there. I think they need the outsider,” he told CBS News last weekend.
But DeSantis has routinely finished second to Trump in early polls, although the gap has widened in recent weeks.
“Former president Donald Trump begins this cycle with an early plurality in the Republican primary, as does Biden in the Democratic primary. However, there are plenty of potential votes scattered among possible challengers to both, suggesting that a strong candidate in either primary could consolidate enough support for an upset,” said New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque.
The Saint Anselm College poll, like so many others, shows voters not happy with the direction of the country under President Joe Biden. Fifty-three percent of respondents say they disapprove (45 percent strongly) with Biden’s job performance. Just 19 percent strongly approve. Only 34 percent of those intending to vote in the Democratic presidential primary indicate they will support the incumbent in the primary.
“President Joe Biden’s approval is still underwater, setting the backdrop for the upcoming New Hampshire Presidential Primaries, less than a year away,” Levesque said.
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