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Trump looking to lock up GOP nomination in New Hampshire in two-person race against Haley

Veteran Pollster Scott Rasmussen predicted Trump will defeat in Haley in the Granite State: polls may bear this out.

Published: January 22, 2024 11:00pm

Updated: January 23, 2024 8:17pm

Former President Donald Trump is looking to lock up the 2024 GOP nomination as the race turns to New Hampshire's two-person primary election against former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, following his win in the contested Iowa Caucus. 

Polls showed Trump leading Haley by a wide margin prior to Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., suspending his campaign on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's election in New Hampshire.  

According to USA Today, InsiderAdvantage had Trump 27 points above Haley while a Boston Globe/Suffolk poll showed a 19-point advantage for Trump. Washington Post/Monmouth had it at 18 points and WHDH-TV/Emerson had Trump winning by 16 points.

Veteran Pollster Scott Rasmussen predicted that Trump will defeat in Haley in the Granite State. "I expect Trump to win in New Hampshire. But, even if Haley pulls off an upset, she will be merely prolonging the inevitable," he told Just the News on Monday.

"Her best case scenario is to be like McCain in 2000, winning open primaries but losing GOP only votes. In the end, all that means is that she sticks around for a while before losing. As long as Trump stays healthy, he will be the nominee," he added.

Rasmussen was asked if he thinks Haley, a former South Carolina governor, will stay in the race for the South Carolina primary even if she loses in New Hampshire. "I have no idea what she will do, but if she loses New Hampshire there is absolutely no path forward," he said. "It would be better for her to drop out rather than face the embarrassment of losing her home state."

Dr. David Richards, chair of the Political Science program at the University of Lynchburg, also said Trump looks to be the likely winner in the New Hampshire primary. "Trump will win, the question is how easily? Does he beat Haley by double digits?" he told Just the News. "Probably, and that would be expected. But if Haley closes the gap and comes within a single digits (9% or less) then that will be a win for Haley, even if she loses."

Richards said Haley might remain the race if she comes close to Trump in New Hampshire.

"From here on out she faces a steep climb to beat Trump and really the odds are very much against her.  I see her trying to make it to South Carolina, but even there she is behind in the polls. If she loses by more than 10 points in New Hampshire I suspect she will announce an end to her campaign within the week," he said. "If she does better, say within single digits, maybe she tries to sprint to South Carolina. But I just don't see how she makes it all the way through primary season," he added. 

Emily Baer, professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire, said observers should keep an eye on how Haley does with GOP voters who identify as conservatives. "Based on current polling, endorsements, and other factors, this is Trump’s race to lose. Having said that, presidential primaries are often about beating expectations and building momentum. Haley does not have to win in order to encourage voters (and donors) in later states to give her a second look," she told Just the News.

"However, if she does poorly with both conservatives and moderates (including unaffiliated voters who can vote in the Republican primary), it is hard to see how she’ll have enough donor support to make it to South Carolina. It will help that she is no longer competing with DeSantis for media attention," she added.

Baer said Trump clearly has a hold on GOP primary voters.

"While Haley is not a perfect candidate, her current standing in the race is less reflective of her missteps – comments about slavery and racism, campaign organization – than of Trump’s continued hold over Republican primary voters and officeholders across the country," she said. "Perhaps she could have moderated her positions even more to appeal to New Hampshire independents, but that would only have hurt her candidacy more in other states."

Meanwhile, Congressman Ro Khanna, D-Calif., has been campaigning in the homestretch of the New Hampshire primary race to try to generate support for voters to come to the polls and write in President Biden's name in what some voters may consider political sabotage.

“It’s a hard thing to win in a write-in campaign,” Khanna said. “The whole country is going to notice, as they always do in New Hampshire, and they’re gonna say this president has enthusiasm. This president’s economic visions are connecting. This president is inspiring the nation.”

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