Here’s what the data says…
In what may be the most conspicuous sign that former President Donald Trump’s firm grip on the GOP is loosening, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has come out on top in a poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters.
The poll — conducted by the University of New Hampshire Granite State — asked participants who their first choice for president would be in the upcoming election. 39 Percent chose DeSantis compared to Trump’s 37 percent.
Although it’s an insignificant difference and with the poll’s margin on error, what’s significant is that essentially Trump — the GOP’s most influential figure — and DeSantis are tied for the top spot.
Previous polls conducted by the university saw DeSantis trailing behind Trump. In July 2021, the Florida Governor received 19 percent support and 18 percent in October 2021. Trump, however, received 47 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
In a statement acknowledging the steep decline in Trump’s popularity among New Hampshire Republicans, Director of the UNH Survey Center Andrew Smith said, “Trump slipping in pre-primary polls is part of a typical pattern.”
He continued his statement: “A party’s losing candidate in the prior election is typically the best-known person in their party. As the primary gets closer, new candidates emerge and more media attention, and therefore more voter attention, than the losing candidate from the previous election.”
Besides DeSantis, who has long been considered a strong candidate to be Trump’s successor, other potential 2024 presidential nominees also featured on UNH’s poll.
Former Vice President Mike Pence received 9 percent support, with former U.S. Ambassador to the Nations Nikki Haley receiving 6 percent support.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R), and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received 1 percent support each.