DeSantis Exit Boosts Trump’s New Hampshire Odds

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s sudden withdrawal from the 2024 presidential race on Sunday and his subsequent endorsement of President Donald Trump has reshaped the political landscape in New Hampshire. A new CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire underscores a significant shift among GOP voters in the Granite State. This move may well be the tipping point in what appears to be a closely-watched Republican primary.

The poll, conducted between January 16 and January 19, surveyed 2,348 individuals, including 1,242 likely Republican primary voters. With a margin of error of ±2.8%, the results reveal that 62% of those who initially favored DeSantis are now leaning toward Trump as their second choice. This preference significantly overshadows the support for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was chosen by only 30% of DeSantis’s backers.

DeSantis’s endorsement of Trump is pivotal. “I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee and I will honor that pledge. He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear: a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents,” DeSantis stated. This clear stand against what he calls “warmed-over corporatism” signifies a firm commitment to Trump’s vision for the Republican Party.

The CNN/UNH poll results also shed light on the broader dynamics of the GOP race in New Hampshire. Trump, holding a commanding 50% support among likely Republican primary voters, stands well ahead of Haley, who trails at 39%. Despite Haley’s recent gains, she still lags behind by a significant margin. The poll indicates that DeSantis’s 6% first-choice support could be crucial in bolstering Trump’s already strong position.

New Hampshire’s primary has long been perceived as a potential stumbling block for Trump, given its more moderate voter base and independent streak. However, the latest survey suggests that Trump’s stronghold within the GOP base remains formidable. Despite winning over a majority of undeclared and moderate voters, Haley faces an uphill battle in overcoming Trump’s consolidated support among registered Republicans, conservatives, and those without a college degree.

The poll’s findings on voter decisiveness are particularly telling. A striking 88% of Trump supporters are firmly decided, compared to 74% of Haley’s camp. This solidifies Trump’s base, translating to 45% of the electorate as committed Trump supporters, outpacing Haley’s 30%.
With the primary set for Tuesday, about one in five likely GOP primary voters remain undecided.

This group currently favors Haley, which presents a potential, though challenging, path for her to narrow the gap with Trump. Nevertheless, expectations lean heavily toward a Trump victory, with 70% of likely Republican primary voters predicting his win.