A new Emerson College poll of New Hampshire Republicans has Donald Trump at 58% and Ron DeSantis at 17%. The state's governor, Chris Sununu (R) came in third at 7%. Nikki Haley was fourth at 6%. For Haley, that's pretty good.
What is a bit surprising is that Sununu has an approval rating of 64%, yet he couldn't even hit 10% in the primary poll. If that continues, he won't even be a favorite-son candidate who can use his delegates to bargain with the leading candidates.
Trump is also doing well in other state-level polling. For example, a Roanoke College poll last week had Trump ahead of DeSantis by 11 points in Virginia.
Does that mean Trump will coast to the nomination? Maybe, but remember, if Trump is indicted in Georgia—and possibly convicted—before the primaries start, that could cause some people to change their minds. In addition, if Fox News goes all in for DeSantis, that could matter. Finally, other candidates, like Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), could jump in.
Ronald Brownstein of CNN has analyzed the crosstabs of recent Republican primary polls and concluded that the Republicans have a "wine track' and a "beer track," just like the Democrats. Trump has an ironclad hold on the beer-track voters—that is, blue-collar workers without a college degree. All the other candidates, including Nikki Haley, Chris Sununu, Glenn Youngkin, and the Mikes Pence and Pompeo, all get their support from wine-track (i.e., college educated) Republicans. But there aren't enough of them left in the GOP to win a primary, as large numbers of college-educated voters have moved off to the Democrats. If the beer-track voters have one candidate and the wine-track voters are split six ways, then Trump wins. It couldn't be plainer. The only chance the college-educated Republicans might be able to beat Trump is to consolidate around one candidate before the voting actually starts. That could happen, of course, since a year of polling showing DeSantis as the only viable Trump opponent might do it. (V)