In the race for the Republican nomination for president, businessman Donald Trump has had a rough month in the key battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Trump narrowly leads retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in Iowa and businesswoman Carly Fiorina in New Hampshire.
Among the Iowa potential Republican electorate including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Trump, 24%, has a 5 point edge over Carson, 19%. In a similar poll conducted last month, Trump received 29% to 22% for Carson whose support has also inched down. Among the potential Republican electorate, support for both Trump and Carson has scattered among the other candidates in the GOP field.
In New Hampshire, Trump remains ahead, but the 16 point lead he had over his then closest opponent, Ohio Governor John Kasich, in September has eroded. Trump, 21%, down from 28% last month, is now narrowly ahead of Carly Fiorina, 16%, by 5 points among the state’s potential Republican electorate. While Fiorina has nearly tripled her support, Kasich’s backers have been cut in half. With 6% of the GOP vote, Kasich now ties for seventh. Of note, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush follows Fiorina with 11%, up slightly from 8%. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has risen to 10% from 3% last time, and Dr. Carson, 10%, is the only other candidate with double-digit support. Carson placed third in September with a similar level of support, 11%.
While Carson remains the preferred second choice candidate of the Iowa potential Republican electorate, he is no longer the overwhelming selection. Carson, 17%, now vies with Trump, 14%, and Fiorina, 13%, for that distinction. Fiorina, 18%, and Carson, 15%, are the most mentioned second choice candidates in New Hampshire.
Looking at the Democratic contest in Iowa, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 47%, leads Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 36%, and maintains the 11 point advantage she had in September. However, with Vice President Joe Biden in the race, Clinton’s lead declines to just 5 points, leading Sanders 33% to 28% with 22% for Biden in the state.
In New Hampshire, Sanders maintains his advantage over Clinton. He receives 48% of the potential Democratic vote to 39% for Clinton. Sanders’ 9 point lead is similar to the 11 point advantage he had in September. With Biden in the contest, Sanders widens his lead over Clinton to 14 points. In September, Sanders had a 9 point lead with Joe Biden in the contest.
“The GOP debates changed the playing field with Trump losing ground in both states” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Soon, it will be the Democrats turn at bat.”
- In Iowa, Trump has lost ground mostly among Tea Party supporters, white Evangelical Christians, independent voters, and conservatives.
- In New Hampshire, Trump’s support has eroded among most demographic groups but particularly among moderates, independents, and Tea Party supporters.
- Fiorina has been the main beneficiary of Trump’s decline in New Hampshire although Rubio has also improved his standing to 10% from 3% last time. Kasich’s support is halved to 6% from 12% in the previous poll.
- Clinton’s, 47%, lead over Sanders, 36%, in Iowa is unchanged. Last time, she also led by 11 points, 48% to 37% for Sanders.
- Sanders’ lead over Clinton, 48% to 39%, in New Hampshire is little changed. A month ago, his lead was 11 points, 49% to 38% for Clinton.
- If Vice President Joe Biden enters the race for the Democratic nomination, he receives the support of 22% of the potential Democratic electorate in Iowa and 18% in New Hampshire. In both states, he is in third place but draws more support away from Clinton than Sanders.
Trump’s Favorable Ratings Decline… Clinton with Positive Boost
In both Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump’s favorability has decreased among the potential Republican electorate. Although a majority in Iowa still has a positive view of Trump, his positive score has dipped by 6 points. Trump’s negative rating has increased by 9 points to 42%, the highest of the GOP candidates measured.
In New Hampshire, Trump had a positive rating of 56% and a negative score of 39% among potential GOP voters last month. These voters now divide, 47% to 47%, in their opinion of him.
Looking at other prominent candidates in the Republican field, Carson, 77%, enjoys the highest favorable score in Iowa, followed by Fiorina with 57%, and Rubio at 54%. Bush, 49%, receives the lowest positive score but is still plus ten points over his negative rating of 39%.
In New Hampshire, Carson, 69%, and Fiorina and Rubio, both with 68%, are well-liked. Bush has improved his favorable rating to 58% from 49% in September’s survey.
Among the potential Democratic electorate in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton, Biden, and Sanders are all viewed favorably. Clinton has improved her standing with potential Democratic voters in both states. Impressions of Biden and Sanders are little changed in both states.
Sanders Outperforms Clinton against the GOP in General Election Tossups
Looking at hypothetical general election contests, Sanders is more competitive against Bush, Trump, and Fiorina than is Clinton. Also, noteworthy, Fiorina is at or breaks 50% against Clinton in both states. She is ahead of Clinton by double digits in Iowa and by 8 points in New Hampshire.
- When matched against Clinton, Bush leads Clinton, 50% to 40%, among registered voters in Iowa. He is also ahead of Clinton, 49% to 42%, among New Hampshire registered voters.
- Trump, 48%, has a 7 point lead against Clinton, 41%, in Iowa. In New Hampshire, Clinton, 48%, and Trump, 45%, are competitive. The two were locked in a virtual dead heat last month. At that time, Clinton received 46% to 45% for Trump.
- Fiorina, 52%, has a double-digit lead over Clinton, 38%, among Iowa registered voters, and Fiorina, 50%, is ahead of Clinton, 42%, by 8 points in New Hampshire.
- Bush, 46%, and Sanders, 44%, are closely matched in Iowa. In New Hampshire, the two candidates are tied. Each receives 46% of the vote.
- Against Trump, Sanders leads in both states. Sanders, 48%, is ahead of Trump, 43%, by 5 points in Iowa. In New Hampshire, Sanders, 52%, outdistances Trump, 42%, by 10 points.
- When matched against Fiorina, Sanders, 47%, and Fiorina, 45%, are competitive among New Hampshire voters. In Iowa, Fiorina receives 45% to 42% for Sanders.
Obama’s Approval Rating Upside Down in Iowa and New Hampshire
Majorities of adults in Iowa and New Hampshire disapprove of how President Barack Obama is doing his job.
- 38% of adults in Iowa approve of President Obama’s job performance, and 53% disapprove. The president received similar scores in September.
- 42% of New Hampshire residents approve of how he is doing his job while 51% disapprove. This is relatively unchanged from September.