The hope of the Nikki Haley campaign to defeat President Trump in the New Hampshire GOP presidential primary on Tuesday with independent (“undeclared”) and disaffected Republican voters appears to being going down in flames with Trump now over 50 percent support overall, leading Haley 53 to 36 percent, while almost catching up to Haley with independents 44-45 percent, according to the daily tracking poll of 500 likely GOP primary voters by Suffolk University, the Boston Globe and NBC 10 released Saturday. (Previous TGP report on the N.H. tracking poll.)
The January 17 tracking poll had Trump leading Haley 50 to 34 percent among all voters while Haley led with independents 44 to 38 percent. Much of Trump’s gain likely came from supporters of Ohio businessman Vivek Ramaswamy who dropped out of the race and endorsed Trump on Tuesday night after finishing fourth in the Iowa caucus and from previously undecided voters.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), is a distant third, coming at 7 percent support in Saturday’s poll, an increase from the 5 percent support he had in the January 17 poll.
Haley, the former GOP governor of South Carolina, had secured the support of New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) who has campaigned with Haley around the state in the past few weeks. Sununu told reporters this week he now expected Haley to finish second.
One interesting point for Haley in Saturday’s poll, though not enough to make a difference, is a gain in Republican support from 24 percent in the poll released on the 17th to 29 percent in the poll released Saturday. In the same polls, Trump went from 61 to 59 percent. The daily polls have a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
Trump stunned Haley on Friday by securing the endorsement of former 2024 rival Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). Haley had appointed then Rep. Scott to the Senate in 2012, giving him national stature.
Haley’s stunned reaction to the news of Scott’s endorsement of Trump was captured on video Friday by Mark Halperin:
— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) January 19, 2024
Haley later released a statement calling Scott a ‘Washington insider’:
Nikki Haley just released a statement on Sen. Tim Scott endorsing Trump:
“Interesting that Trump’s lining up with all the Washington insiders when he claimed he wanted to drain the swamp. But the fellas are gonna do what the fellas are gonna do.”
— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) January 19, 2024
Sununu similarly dismissed Scott’s endorsement, saying “nobody cares,” in a video clip posted by Washington Post reporter Dylan Wells:
Chris Sununu says “if anyone cared about Tim Scott he’d still be running for president.”
“Nobody cares.” pic.twitter.com/MSh1W8DKDC
— Dylan Wells (@dylanewells) January 19, 2024
Tim Scott received a warm reaction from New Hampshire Trump supporters Friday night. (Campaign video by Dan Scavino):
— Dan Scavino Jr.🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) January 20, 2024
The vote for New Hampshire Republican primary is open to those who registered by October 6, 2023 as Republican or “Undeclared”. It has been reported a few thousand Democrats switched to “Undeclared” before the October deadline, but apparently not enough to make a difference for Haley.
Politico reported Democrat groups are trying to damage Trump by targeting undeclared voters to vote for Haley. That plan may be undercut by a write-in effort for Joe Biden who skipped the traditional first in the nation primary in New Hampshire in favor of South Carolina. Undeclared voters can vote in either the Republican or Democrat primary.
Trump is speaking at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire Saturday night at 7 p.m. EST.