(OSV News) — Although former President Donald Trump is leading his closest challengers by a 3-1 margin among likely voters in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has risen to second place in the contest, according to a new poll.
The poll, conducted by the St. Anselm College Survey Center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, found that Trump is preferred by 45% of likely GOP primary voters; but Haley, also a former governor of South Carolina, is currently the leading alternative to Trump among those likely to vote in the state’s key first-in-the-nation primary.
Haley leads DeSantis
The poll found Haley with 15% support, ahead of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, once seen as the top Trump challenger, at 11%. The poll found DeSantis has seen his support decline in the Granite State by 18 points since March.
Haley also leads former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the ballot test among respondents who said they have an unfavorable impression of Trump, 32%-29%. The poll also found that Haley has a 37-point net positive favorability rating (65%-28%), second only to South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, which the pollster said suggests she has room to grow her support.
St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, is a Benedictine institution that frequently hosts presidential candidates who campaign in the state’s primary process.
Neil Levesque, executive director of New Hampshire Institute of Politics, said in a Sept. 25 statement, “As in 2016, opposition to Trump is diluted over several candidates, preventing the consolidation that would be necessary to deny him a third straight nomination.”
“Furthermore, a fractured field means the eventual Republican nominee will have to work to consolidate their support against President Joe Biden if he stands for re-election,” Levesque said.
Levesque noted the poll found just 46% of the Republican primary voters tested said that they would vote for Christie in a general election match-up with Biden. In comparison, 73% said they would vote for DeSantis over Biden, 74% for Trump or Haley, and 76% for Scott.
“This reflects a deep polarization in the primary electorate between supporters and detractors of Trump,” he said.