Trump trails DeSantis in possible 2024 matchup in New Hampshire, which holds first primary
Former President Donald Trump appears to be losing steam with Republican voters in the key state of New Hampshire who are turning towards Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to a poll released by the University of New Hampshire Thursday.
Ahead of what could be a contentious 2024 GOP presidential primary, Granite State voters favor DeSantis over Trump by 12 percentage points – 42%-30% – according to the poll. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
New Hampshire's status as the state that holds the first GOP presidential primary next year gives DeSantis' showing extra importance.
A year before the 2024 primary, much can change
The poll was conducted roughly a year before New Hampshire voters cast their ballots. And, the poll report notes, "primary campaigns are very volatile and leading a year before the primary does not guarantee a win in New Hampshire."
In 2016, then-presidential candidate Trump earned his first primary victory in New Hampshire which led to him winning the nomination and eventually the presidency. This time around however, Trump could be facing an uphill climb as DeSantis has begun to catch, and sometimes surpass, the former president's popularity among Republicans.
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Trump's campaign, which has been largely quiet since announcing his 2024 bid in November, is set to return to the public stage on Saturday, making a stop in New Hampshire for the state GOP's annual meeting before heading to South Carolina for his first public campaign event.
Trump's falling support visualized: These charts show how Trump's 2024 bid is losing steam
Poll finds other danger signs for Trump
The former president’s support in the Granite State is falling in other ways too.
Fewer New Hampshire GOP voters want Trump to run in 2024 compared to previous polls. In June 2022, 57% of likely voters said they thought Trump should run. In this latest January 2023 poll, that number fell to 46%.
DeSantis also has strong favorability ratings from the survey’s respondents – 73% of respondents had a favorable opinion of DeSantis compared to 47% of voters who had a favorable opinion of Trump.
Other potential candidates who received support include former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (8%) and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (4%).
The Granite State is currently fighting to maintain its political identity after the Democratic National Committee voted to strip the state of its position at the front of the presidential nominating calendar. The state still remains first on the GOP’s schedule.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump lags behind DeSantis in NH, a key GOP presidential primary state