Ron DeSantis slipping: Falls further behind Donald Trump and Nikki Haley in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON - A new poll shows Nikki Haley is rising in New Hampshire, leaving Ron DeSantis trailing in the 2024 GOP primary field that continues to be dominated by Donald Trump.

While Trump stands at 46% in a Washington Post/Monmouth University poll released Friday, Haley is in a solid second at 18% - and DeSantis is in fifth.

The Florida governor is at 7%, behind former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (11%) and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (8%).

Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley
Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley

The latest poll numbers are a stark contrast to earlier in the year when DeSantis was seen as the favorite in the field of GOP candidates vying to take on Trump.

"Anyone still talking about DeSantis as the stalking horse is not keeping up with the race," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Haley on the rise after strong debate performances?

Haley and her aides said voters are responding to her strong debate performances.

“Poll after poll show Nikki Haley is the best challenger to Donald Trump and (President) Joe Biden," said Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokesperson for the Haley campaign. "She’s second in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and is the only candidate with the momentum to go the distance."

She added: "Ron DeSantis has a short shelf life with his Iowa-or-bust strategy."

DeSantis also struggled in a CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire and released Thursday.

Trump led that survey with 42%, followed by Haley (20%), Christie (14%) and then DeSantis (9%).

Murray said DeSantis "stalled months ago and has been on the decline since, especially among Republican voters looking for an alternative to Trump."

DeSantis and aides have said they are more focused on Iowa, which begins the nomination process with caucuses on Jan. 15.

DeSantis: focused on Iowa, not New Hampshire

The DeSantis campaign team, which has the endorsement of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and claims a strong get-out-the-vote organization, believes that a strong showing in Iowa will propel him into New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and other delegate contests.

"We're doing what it takes to win and we're going to get the job done, notwithstanding whatever polls this far out would say," DeSantis told Fox News earlier this month.

Trump and his aides have cheered on DeSantis' struggles in the polls, and the new surveys in New Hampshire have emboldened them.

On the social media site X, formerly Twitter, Trump adviser Jason Miller said DeSantis "is in FIFTH PLACE in New Hampshire."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ron DeSantis falls further behind Donald Trump and Nikki Haley in NH