What the… Nikki Haley Within 4 Points of Trump in New Hampshire

The buzz around Nikki Haley’s campaign for president just got a little louder with the release of an American Research Group poll showing the former UN ambassador trailing Donald Trump by just 4 points.

The telephone survey, published on December 21, was taken between December 14-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus four points. It shows Trump leading in New Hampshire at 33% while Haley is at 29%. 

As I’ve mentioned before about New Hampshire, the voters there take their responsibility to vet the candidates very seriously. But this can’t be right, can it? Trump is ahead nationally by 40 points or more.

New Hampshire voters don’t appear to care where the national race stands. 

Another poll from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) also shows Haley within 3 points of Trump. But that poll assumes that Chris Christie and Ron DeSantis will drop out.

The Dispatch:

A conservative group backing Nikki Haley’s presidential bid shared polling with The Dispatch Friday morning showing her just 3 points behind Donald Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup in New Hampshire. The survey from Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots organization affiliated with the Koch network of political groups, showed the former South Carolina governor and ex-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations trailing the former president 48 percent to 45 percent, with 5 percent undecided, in a ballot test that presumes Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie are not in the race. But of course, the Florida governor and former New Jersey governor are in the race. So what does AFP’s polling show in that case? Trump 45 percent; Haley 32 percent; Christie 9 percent; DeSantis 6 percent—figures in line with other recent New Hampshire surveys. 

It’s pretty certain that Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie aren’t going to do Nikki Haley any favors and drop out of the race before the New Hampshire primary. That said, Haley has doubled her support since September, and at least in New Hampshire, she’s moved the needle away from Donald Trump. That’s something no other candidate has been able to do in any other state.

That’s not saying much. But if you’re Nikki Haley and you’re trying to keep your head above water, it’s enough to keep plodding forward hoping for a miracle.

Although it’s not unusual, there are still about 12% of New Hampshire voters who are undecided. The question is, are these really fence-sitters, or have they already made up their minds but are open to supporting some other candidate? 

Finally, this is a race for delegates, not necessarily a popularity contest. There are always two races in each state and the candidate with the superior organization almost always wins the lion’s share of delegates. In New Hampshire, and all other early states, the organizational edge goes decisively to Trump.

We’ll see if Haley can seriously challenge Trump and if her popularity can transfer into a serious organization.

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