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Trump lead over Haley expands in closing days before New Hampshire GOP presidential primary

A new poll indicates Donald Trump remains the commanding front-runner in New Hampshire's Republican presidential primary with Nikki Haley behind by double-digits, and Ron DeSantis a distant third.

MANCHESTER, N.H. – With two days to go until New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary, two new polls indicate former President Donald Trump remains the commanding front-runner, with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley behind by double-digits, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a distant third.

Trump, who is running a third straight time for the White House, stands at 50% support in a University of New Hampshire/CNN poll released Sunday morning. 

Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, grabbed 39% support. And DeSantis, once the clear runner-up to Trump in most polling, was at 6%.


Trump’s 11-point lead over Haley in the new survey is up from a seven-point advantage in the previous UNH/CNN poll, which was conducted earlier in the month.

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Meanwhile, the former president grabbed 55%, according to a daily tracking poll released Sunday morning by Suffolk University, the Boston Globe and NBC10 in Boston.

The former president’s support edged up two points from Saturday’s tracking poll.

Haley stood at 36%, with her support unchanged from the previous day. And DeSantis pulled in 6% support, edging down a point over the past 24 hours.

Both polls were conducted entirely after Trump scored a convincing victory in Monday night’s low-turnout Iowa caucuses, the first contest on the GOP presidential nominating calendar.

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A poll from Saint Anselm College that was also conducted after the Iowa caucuses also indicates Trump with a lead in the mid-teens over Haley and DeSantis in single digits in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, a new survey released Friday from Marist College indicates Haley performing better against President Biden than either Trump or DeSantis in hypothetical general election matchups in November in New Hampshire, which is a key battleground state.

The survey indicates Haley edging Biden by three points, while the president tops Trump by seven points and DeSantis by nine points. Haley repeatedly emphasized on the campaign trail that she would perform better against Biden in the general election than Trump would fare against the president.

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Both new surveys indicate Trump dominating among registered Republicans, with Haley grabbing majority support among independents, who are known as undeclared voters in New Hampshire. Independents can vote in either major party’s contest, and have long played an influential role in the state’s storied presidential primary.

“We need big margins, “Trump urged his supporters as he spoke at a rally Saturday night in Manchester, which is New Hampshire’s largest city. “Because we have to send real unity as a message.” 

But the former president’s campaign appeared to be tempering expectations.

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“A win is a win,” Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita told reporters ahead of the rally. “A win by five, a win by six, a win by seven.”

And LaCivita argued that Haley should end her campaign if she doesn’t win on Tuesday, saying “she should drop out.”

But Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney told reporters on Saturday that they’re moving full speed ahead to South Carolina, which holds the next major contest in the GOP presidential nominating calendar, on Feb. 24.

Ankney said Haley will hold a large event in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, the same day that the campaign will launch a $4 million statewide ad blitz.

The Suffolk University poll questioned 500 likely Republican presidential primary voters in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, with an overall sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The UNH/CNN survey was conducted January 16-19, with 2,348 New Hampshire adults questioned. The poll’s overall sampling error is plus or minus two percentage points.

The UNH/CNN survey also polled the state’s Democratic presidential primary. 

Sixty-three percent of those likely to vote in the Democratic contest said they would write in President Biden’s name, with Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota at 10% support and self-help author Marianne Williamson at 9%.

With New Hampshire holding an unsanctioned Democratic presidential primary, the president declined to place his name on the ballot. 

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