New Hampshire Poll Shows 2016 Republican Candidates Even Tighter

May 12, 2015 — A new Bloomberg Politics/St. Anselm’s University survey (May 2-6; Purple Strategies consulting firm; 500 registered New Hampshire voters; oversampled to attain 400 Democratic primary voters and 400 Republican primary voters) projects that the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary is a virtual multi-candidate tie. The general election figures are also tightening, uncovering further weakness in presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The pollsters tested 13 Republican candidates or potential candidates, four of whom broke into double-digits. At 12 percent support are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Just one point behind loom former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sunshine State Sen. Marco Rubio.

Businessman Donald Trump makes an appearance in this poll, and does reasonably well, capturing eight percent preference. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with seven percent, just ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (six percent) and Dr. Ben Carson (five percent). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), ex-Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) all follow in a range between four and one percent.

Therefore, from top to bottom of the huge field of prospective candidates, which figures to grow even beyond this group, the entire slate falls within a 12-point scope. This suggests that virtually any contender could win the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary when it occurs next February. The closeness of the contest, and recalling that most states apportion their delegates proportionally, is another indication that the nomination could end in a brokered, or open, convention.

The pollsters also asked the Republican respondents about their second choice. Here, Gov. Walker again places first with another 12 percent showing. Bush is the second choice of 10 percent of these Republicans, with senators Paul and Rubio identified as the alternative selection for nine percent of the respondent cell.

Among Democrats, the story remains the same. Hillary Clinton is of course leading the much smaller group of candidates and prospective contenders. She captures 62 percent support, which is a level that she typically receives in hypothetical primaries all around the country. In second place is neighboring Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only other official Democratic candidate, with 18 percent. In yet another terrible showing, Vice President Joe Biden is the choice of only five percent of the Democratic respondents, just ahead of ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s three percent.

But, it is Clinton’s general election projections that identify her slumping trends. Against Wisconsin Gov. Walker, the former Secretary of State and First Lady scores a 46-40 percent margin. Unfortunately for her, this represents her best showing against the GOP top tier. Jeb Bush pulls to within two points of Clinton, 44-42 percent, as does Sen. Rubio. Sen. Paul is only slightly behind Bush and Rubio, trailing the former Secretary of State, 46-43 percent.

Since 2000, New Hampshire has been a swing battleground state, and this poll again suggests the state is headed for a similar course in the coming year. The data found here will likely portend comparable results in several other states, particularly those with swing histories. Assuming the Bloomberg poll is reliable, the general election trends are becoming much more favorable for Republicans. Clinton’s once formidable lead over the GOP field is now eliminated, and it appears she will not likely put any distance between herself and the strongest Republican candidates any time soon.

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