It didn’t take long for the reverberations from Iowa to start having an effect on New Hampshire polls for the Republican side. As it stands, Donald Trump retains a strong lead but the number two spot has now been filled by Marco Rubio, with Ted Cruz moving back into third place. I know, you may be asking why we’re even looking at polls after how badly they functioned in Iowa. Well, the answer is that the New Hampshire primary is a different animal, and less prone to the wild swings seen in the final days, even hours, of the Iowa caucus.
Report from WHDH:
It’s not an earthquake, yet…But the political ground in New Hampshire is moving.
We’re seeing more of Iowa’s impact, and the war of words underway here.
Hillary Clinton is coming back; and Marco Rubio is coming up.
Donald Trump stays in first, with 36%; Rubio takes over second place, with 15%. Ted Cruz, now in third, has 14%. Jeb Bush, 8%; and John Kasich 7%.
For the rest of the Republicans: Chris Christie, 5 %, Ben Carson, 4%; Carly Fiorina 3% and undecided 8%.
Our tracking poll show its all: Trump on top, but down two points– the first time he’s dropped in our poll.
Marco Rubio shoots into second place, with 15%, a gain of three points overnight.
Ted Cruz holds his support, but slips into third place.
Jeb Bush lost a point; no change for John Kasich.
In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton can start thinking about a comeback, and Bernie Sanders is coming down.
Sanders still has a significant lead over Clinton– 58% to 36%– a 22 point margin.
But look at the direction of the tracks: Sanders is down three and Clinton is up four, our biggest single gain since we started this poll.
If this poll is correct, Trump still maintains a strong lead. Unlike Iowa, where some polls showed Trump leading Cruz by only 1 point days before the caucus, Trump is holding a double-digit lead in New Hampshire. Rubio’s team is following what they call the “3-2-1” strategy. Third place in Iowa, second place in New Hampshire, and first place in South Carolina. So far, the New Hampshire stage of that strategy might be taking shape following his third place finish in Iowa. If he continues to get support coalescing around him, he could maintain a second place standing over Cruz.
On the Democratic side, the race very likely is tightening to an extent as New Hampshire becomes the focus and voters start paying more attention. That being said, Sanders still has a 20+ point lead, a tough hill to overcome. I think the goal for Clinton would be to avoid a total blowout in New Hampshire, try to make up ground and not lose by more than 10 points if it happens. That would save the embarrassment of a 20 or 30 point loss. A 10 point loss is easier to explain as Sanders having the home field advantage being the Senator from Vermont, New Hampshire’s closest neighbor.