Politics

Trump still dominating Republican field for New Hampshire primary, UMass Lowell poll shows

“The anti-Trump candidates are playing a game of musical chairs on the Titanic.” 

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a commit to caucus rally, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, in Waterloo, Iowa. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

With little more than a month to go before New Hampshire’s presidential primary, a new UMass Lowell poll shows former President Donald Trump with a hearty lead in the race for the Republican party’s nomination.

Released Thursday, the poll from UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion and YouGov surveyed 450 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters, with 52% saying they’d vote to re-elect Trump. The poll results showed former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — who scored an endorsement from New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu earlier this month — in a “not-so-close second” with support from 22% of respondents, according to UMass Lowell. 

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“The poll results throw cold water on any traction Haley thought she had,” John Cluverius, the Center for Public Opinion’s director of survey research, said in a statement. “Despite an endorsement from Sununu — whom the poll found enjoys an 80% favorability rating among respondents — and her attempt to thread the needle on abortion, she can’t seem to close the deal.” 

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According to the poll, Trump leads Haley in every demographic; Haley actually fared worse among women than men. 

Trailing Trump and Haley is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who won support from 10% of respondents. Six percent supported former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, while entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy scored support from 4% of respondents and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson garnered 1%.

Less than 0.5% of respondents supported another candidate, and 5% of likely primary voters were undecided, according to UMass Lowell. When asked who would win the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary, 65% of respondents answered Trump.

In an accompanying analysis of the poll’s highlights, Cluverius put it bluntly: “The anti-Trump candidates are playing a game of musical chairs on the Titanic.” 

Where voters stand on abortion, age limits for elected officials

The poll also surveyed voters on foreign conflicts and certain hot-button issues that have arisen this election cycle, namely abortion rights and age limits for elected officials. 

According to UMass Lowell, respondents were split on the Israel-Hamas war, with 50% somewhat or strongly supporting the Republican presidential nominee calling for an immediate ceasefire, and 50% somewhat or strongly opposed. Respondents were similarly split on providing U.S. aid to Israel. 

As for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 66% of respondents said they somewhat or strongly opposed additional aid to Ukraine, though 76% held an unfavorable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

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Respondents did, however, voice support for abortion rights and age limits for those holding federal office. 

Asked if there should be a right to get an abortion in every U.S. state, 67% of voters surveyed said definitely or probably yes — including 64% of self-identified Republicans, according to UMass Lowell. 

The poll also found that 64% of respondents said they would back a constitutional amendment prohibiting candidates 75 years of age or older from holding federal office. Notably, Trump would be 78 years old and President Joe Biden would be 82 on Inauguration Day if either one were reelected. 

“One big theme of this election has been voter dissatisfaction with the age of the frontrunners for both political parties,” Cluverius noted. “Voters say they are tired of an older generation of elected officials, but seem gung-ho to vote for that generation anyway.”