Most observers have said that Nikki Haley has done really well in the debates. Gov. Ron DeSantis seems bored on stage and Vivek Ramaswamy comes over as a real [insert vulgar word for penis here]. Chris Christie doesn't actually want (or expect) to be president. He just wants to stick it to Donald Trump. Haley knows her material very well and is an excellent debater. Given the people surrounding her, she has really shined. It is starting to pay off.
A new poll of New Hampshire by Emerson College now has her in second place at 18%, behind Donald Trump at 49%, and ahead of Christie (9%) and DeSantis (7%). Haley was at 4% in the August Emerson poll of New Hampshire, so she is up more than 4x in 3 months. If things continue on this trajectory, it will be a two-person contest before long, Trump vs. Haley. So far, she hasn't gone after him directly, but in a two-way contest, that will be inevitable. She is one tough cookie and will be able to put him off balance and get under his skin if we get there.
Haley's support comes from older voters and the most educated voters. Among Republican voters with a college degree, she actually leads Trump 35% to 27% in the Granite State. However, among noncollege voters, Trump leads 57% to 12%.
The poll also asked about the Democratic primary. So far, 27% will write in Joe Biden, 15% will vote for Dean Phillips, 10% will vote for Marianne Williamson for some strange reason, and the rest are undecided or will vote for someone else. If Biden can win New Hampshire without even being on the ballot, that will be the end of Phillips and Williamson. For Phillips, this stunt will cost him his House seat. For Williamson, she gets a bit of PR, but there is no downside for her.
Other interesting questions dealt with the general election. In a straight Biden-Trump matchup, Biden wins New Hampshire 47% to 42%. If Trump is a convicted criminal by Election Day, 80% of those supporting him now will still support him, 5% will not, and 15% are unsure. If Trump loses 10% of his voters, he's not going to be able to pull it off.
Finally, in a race with Biden, Trump, Robert Kennedy Jr, and Cornel West, it's 40% for Biden, 37% for Trump, 8% for Kennedy, and 1% for West. And Biden still wins even though his approval rating, according to the poll, is 37%. Granite Staters don't like Biden, but they like Trump even less. In other words, you don't have to run faster than the bear. You only have to run faster than the other guy.
The top five issues are the economy (36%), housing affordability (23%), threats to democracy (11%), abortion (6%), and education (6%). If the Democrats go all in on abortion and democracy, those numbers are sure to rise. (V)