WBUR poll of NH independents: Kasich rising into 2nd-place tie; Christie, Rubio fading

posted at 8:41 am on January 21, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Six weeks ago, the WBUR poll of all likely Republican primary voters had Donald Trump leading with 27% and Chris Christie charging into second place with 12%. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz stayed hot on Christie’s trail in double digits. John Kasich was an afterthought in sixth place.

In today’s WBUR poll, which focuses on independents alone, the leader remains the same — Trump, at 26% — but nearly everyone else has shuffled position. Kasich more than doubled his early December level of support to hit 15%, putting him in a tie with Cruz for runner-up. Christie and Rubio have both faded to single digits. But more importantly, a large percentage of the state’s independent voters — who can choose in which primary to vote — still haven’t made up their minds:

A new WBUR poll out Thursday (topline, crosstabs) finds that with less than three weeks before primary day, a large share New Hampshire’s undeclared voters have yet to make up their minds about who to vote for — or even which party to support.

New Hampshire’s undeclared voters — those who aren’t registered as Democrats or Republicans and can choose either ballot on Election Day — represent over 44 percent of the state’s voters, more than either political party. They are notoriously independent and play a crucial role in picking the winners.

“And a lot of them, about a third, still haven’t made up their mind,” said Steve Koczela, president of The MassINC Polling Group, which conducted our survey. “That to me is the thing that could still cause the biggest change.”

This could well be an outlier, and it doesn’t take into account voters registered in either party — only the independents. Rubio still mostly polls in double digits in recent surveys, although Christie has definitely fallen off the pace. The sample size is rather small for this close to the election at 436 likely voters — but the focus on only unaffiliated voters makes it a stronger poll than the sample size would indicate. The independent vote drives election results, and while this new WBUR poll design makes it difficult to compare to other surveys, the results are pretty fascinating nonetheless.

WBUR’s polling attempts to take into account the flux among ballot choices for independents by offering six models of indy turnout in both primaries. Trump and Kasich remain 1-2 in all six, but the margins shift significantly:

wbur1

The more independents cross over, the weaker Trump and Cruz become and the stronger Kasich and Bush perform. Interestingly, none of the other candidates seem to see any impact from the percentage shifts of independents choosing to vote in the GOP primary. Who would have guessed that Rubio was doing worse among independents than Cruz? Hmmm. According to the soft commitment indicated by the survey, the 41/59 model may be closest to the reality among independents.(And remember, this poll doesn’t include registered Republicans.)

If nothing else, this may prove that debate performances don’t matter much in the early states. What has Kasich done in any recent debate to set himself up for this kind of boost? Not much, but in heavy-retail-politics states like New Hampshire, TV matters less than personal campaigning, especially for the independents polled in this survey. Kasich has been focusing his attention on the Granite State, but … so has Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush. This Kasich bump looks suspiciously similar to the Not-Romney bubbles from 2011-12 — the latest flirtation with the Trump Alternative. Maybe he’s peaking at just the right time, but Kasich had better hope that there isn’t a Second Look At Fiorina movement next week.

Over on the Democratic side, the WBUR poll shows a meltdown for Hillary Clinton among independents. WBUR hasn’t polled the New Hampshire Democratic primary since October, when they had Hillary Clinton leading 38/34 among all Democratic primary voters. Today’s poll of indies puts Sanders in the lead by 27 points, 60/33. Unlike the GOP side of the poll, the numbers for Democrats don’t show much change based on independent participation, either:

wbur2

Only in the two heaviest indie-turnout models do the numbers change for Hillary … and in the wrong direction.

Right now, New Hampshire belongs to the outsider candidates. The big question, assuming WBUR’s polling accurately reflects the mood of the state, will be whether Trump and Sanders can manage a voter-turnout operation among independents well enough to take advantage of their standing, and whether Kasich’s surge is real and can be translated to votes. With a lead this large among indies, and a 12.6-point lead in the overall RCP average among all New Hampshire Democratic primary voters, Sanders’ GOTV expertise may not matter at all.


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Comments

…Kasich’s hands….will go nuts!

JugEarsButtHurt on January 21, 2016 at 8:44 AM

Trump/Kasich 2016. C’mon, you know you want it.

WordsMatter on January 21, 2016 at 8:47 AM

¡Kasich! is consolidating the RINO vote.

ConstantineXI on January 21, 2016 at 8:50 AM

…Kasich’s hands….will go nuts!

JugEarsButtHurt on January 21, 2016 at 8:44 AM

The ¡Kasichmessiah¡ will smite thee.

ConstantineXI on January 21, 2016 at 8:51 AM

The sweet deal daddies in Davos are afraid of Trump. Trump got the undesirable Branstad anti endorsement from …wait for it…..Eric Cantor. He must be stopped.

rik on January 21, 2016 at 8:51 AM

Taking my plow truck to NH. Needs waxing

rik on January 21, 2016 at 8:53 AM

Needs waxing

rik on January 21, 2016 at 8:53 AM

The truck or NH?

Or both?

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 8:55 AM

Lemme see…Trump or Kasich??? 2 peas in a pod!

winston on January 21, 2016 at 8:56 AM

WBUR poll of NH independents: Kasich rising into 2nd-place tie; Christie, Rubio fading

Which leads to the question:

Whuh?

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 8:56 AM

The truck or NH?

Or both?

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 8:55 AM

My speedo line

rik on January 21, 2016 at 8:58 AM

Cross-posted.

From the linked article:

Charles Sielicki, a retiree who lives in East Hampstead, New Hampshire, is a good example. He’s an undeclared voter who leans Democratic and likes Bernie Sanders. But he says this time he might choose a Republican ballot and vote for John Kasich.

I don’t know who to judge on this one.

The guy — an American voter! — is teetering between a Republican and a Socialist. On the other hand, Kasich — a Republican candidate! — is an alternative to a voter leaning toward a Socialist.

Lolo on January 21, 2016 at 8:59 AM

Lemme see…Trump or Kasich??? 2 peas in a pod!

winston on January 21, 2016 at 8:56 AM

Bob Dole says that Bob Dole loves both of these candidates. That’s what Bob Dole says he says.

WordsMatter on January 21, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Gee, thought being a canuck and hating New Yorkers would push the Teddy bear over the top. Hmmmm

rik on January 21, 2016 at 9:01 AM

Aaaaaand Innnnnn thiiiis corner, weighing in at 2oo lbs. of centrist cellulite, Joooooooohny, Chop-Chop Kaaaaaaaasich!

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:01 AM

Ever been to New Hampshire? If you have, these these push poll results will make perfect sense to you. Let’s move on to SC.

Mr. Arrogant on January 21, 2016 at 9:02 AM

rik on January 21, 2016 at 8:58 AM

Way TMI!

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:03 AM

The prince of light!

butch on January 21, 2016 at 9:03 AM

he guy — an American voter! — is teetering between a Republican and a Socialist. On the other hand, Kasich — a Republican candidate! — is an alternative to a voter leaning toward a Socialist.

Lolo on January 21, 2016 at 8:59 AM

Why would this surprise you. Republicans are every bit as much socialists as Sanders. They only reason they’re not pitching free everything is their base are the ones who have to pay for it.

Unlike democrats, republicans have to wait until after the election to flush our money down the socialist toilet (see: Dubya, Paul Ryan)

Magicjava on January 21, 2016 at 9:05 AM

rik on January 21, 2016 at 8:58 AM

Way TMI!

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:03 AM

Too early to drink, so grouchy

rik on January 21, 2016 at 9:06 AM

WBUR is Boston’s NPR station. They wouldn’t have an agenda, right?

Bogus poll.

dogsoldier on January 21, 2016 at 9:09 AM

Ever been to New Hampshire? If you have, these these push poll results will make perfect sense to you. Let’s move on to SC.

Mr. Arrogant on January 21, 2016 at 9:02 AM

People who have never been to New England are generally shocked at how rural it is, out side of a few cities. Of course, that’s what I love about it, being a redneck from east TX

rik on January 21, 2016 at 9:09 AM

The prince of light!

butch on January 21, 2016 at 9:03 AM

…the light is coming from his anal canal!

JugEarsButtHurt on January 21, 2016 at 9:09 AM

Trump / Kaysuck a veritable Progressivepalooza!!!

Is Kaysuck a big enough political whore to take Trump’s VP spot?

That’s what the delusional Angel of Light is really working for.

BTW, When do all the others drop out and leave it to Cruz and Trump?

I mean, Rand Paul? Huckabee? Christie? Carson?

Where can they seriously contend?

PappyD61 on January 21, 2016 at 9:13 AM

still haven’t made up their minds:

THIS is why Iowa matters.

These undecideds are Momentum voters.

PappyD61 on January 21, 2016 at 9:15 AM

Why would this surprise you. Republicans are every bit as much socialists as Sanders. They only reason they’re not pitching free everything is their base are the ones who have to pay for it.

Magicjava on January 21, 2016 at 9:05 AM

I see what you mean. Still . . .

You’re in a crowded room, and a man with a dead fish walks in and begins slapping everyone across the face with it. Your turn comes, and well, no surprise, but still, it’s a dead fish across the face.

Lolo on January 21, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Is it time to circle the wagons and hope for something better in 2020?

Deafdog on January 21, 2016 at 9:25 AM

Christie Blasts Kasich, Compares Him To Satan

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:17 AM

I guess 2016 is the year Hitler comparisons finally became insipid.

Deafdog on January 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Honestly, all this fake horserace garbage is wearing thin.

Paperclips on January 21, 2016 at 9:37 AM

Feel-good video of the day.

whatcat on January 21, 2016 at 9:37 AM

Christie Blasts Kasich, Compares Him To Satan

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:17 AM

I guess 2016 is the year Hitler comparisons finally became insipid.

Deafdog on January 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Yeah, the rhetoric has become cartoonish. I think that all of the flailing and flinging of poo is a sign of frustrated impotence for many.

The “center-right” guys are going nuts because:

1) There are so many of them, and no one is dropping out. (Lindsey doesn’t count, because … Lindsey)

2) They are getting clobbered by Trump, and Cruz is the only one within striking distance. This they can’t stand.

3) It doesn’t matter what they do; they spend tons on adverts and Trump pwns them because he is the media’s puppet-master and gets more air than they could ever buy.

I have not an ounce of sympathy for any of them.

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:44 AM

Feel-good video of the day.

whatcat on January 21, 2016 at 9:37 AM

Awesome.

Rapid response redefined.

If that had happened here, though, the instigator would probably sue, and win.

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:49 AM

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:44 AM

No sympathy here either.

and to think….just last year, I was looking forward to a 2016 campaign between Pence, Jindal, Perry and a few others.

Deafdog on January 21, 2016 at 10:03 AM

Deafdog on January 21, 2016 at 10:03 AM

Yeah, I thought Scott Walker had a shot, but he just faded into the backqround. I’ve always liked Cruz, but he seems to be flailing at the moment. If he survives the first leg of the primary race, his ground game may yet pay dividends.

Interesting times, as the old Chinese curse alludes.

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 10:11 AM

Christie Blasts Kasich, Compares Him To Satan

And in center ring, in one corner, Jabba the Hut. In the other corner, The Horned One. And, the winnah is….

vnvet on January 21, 2016 at 10:43 AM

Why would anyone vote for Kasich? This is utterly baffling.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on January 21, 2016 at 10:45 AM

If Kasich wins, Bishop better get a plum cabinet position.

Christien on January 21, 2016 at 10:58 AM

rik on January 21, 2016 at 9:09 AM

We like playing with pollsters too. Yes, it’s rural, except for Concord, Manchester, Portsmouth and Nashua.

Outside Manchester airport, a bull moose has a snack:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-_A9lCgNgc

dogsoldier on January 21, 2016 at 11:04 AM

Arnold Yabenson thanks Bob Dole for Bob Dole`s and Arnold Yabenson`s love of Bob Dole.

Further more, Bob Dole.

F it. Hammered in Hong Kong. Schadenfraud is a goat lover!! Out

Arnold Yabenson on January 21, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Arnold Yabenson thanks Bob Dole for Bob Dole`s and Arnold Yabenson`s love of Bob Dole.

Further more, Bob Dole.

F it. Hammered in Hong Kong. Schadenfraud is a goat lover!! Out

Arnold Yabenson on January 21, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Arnold Yabenson only hit submit once.

Arnold Yabenson on January 21, 2016 at 11:26 AM

So “independents,” meaning Democrats, get to choose our nominee in NH?

It’s all becoming clear to me now.

evergreen on January 21, 2016 at 12:51 PM

So “independents,” meaning Democrats, get to choose our nominee in NH?

It’s all becoming clear to me now.

evergreen on January 21, 2016 at 12:51 PM

The RNC is fine with that. Basically, anyone but Trump allows them to keep their places at the feeding trough.

bofh on January 21, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Feel-good video of the day.

whatcat on January 21, 2016 at 9:37 AM

Awesome.

Rapid response redefined.

If that had happened here, though, the instigator would probably sue, and win.

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2016 at 9:49 AM

I just wish more Euros had that Italian bus driver’s attitude.

whatcat on January 21, 2016 at 3:31 PM

WBUR is Boston’s NPR station. They wouldn’t have an agenda, right?

Bogus poll.

dogsoldier on January 21, 2016 at 9:09 AM

Actually WBUR is the “JV” NPR station in Boston; the flagship NPR station there is WGBH-FM.

“BUR’ = “Boston University Radio”; they’re run by BU’s School of Communications and have some great shows, including some great music. One of their Friday and Saturday night music show mainstays, “Con Salsa!” has been hosted by the same dude, Jose Maso, for over 40 years now.

But yes, it’s a bogus “poll”.

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2016 at 4:11 PM

rik on January 21, 2016 at 9:09 AM

We like playing with pollsters too. Yes, it’s rural, except for Concord, Manchester, Portsmouth and Nashua.

dogsoldier on January 21, 2016 at 11:04 AM

Actually, you can add a few more places to that mix. I live in the Lakes Region and the stretch running west to east from Franklin to Laconia is now almost all urban.

Further to the north, in Plymouth (where Plymouth State University is located) NH Rt. 25 just west of town now rivals downtown Concord. A huge new Marriott hotel is currently under construction there, as well as a gigantic state liquor store, and their Wal-Mart Supercenter just doubled in size. That stretch of highway now has as many stop lights as Loudon Road in Concord.

And I journeyed up to North Conway for the first time in 15 years about 6 weeks ago. “The Strip” now looks like Manchester’s South Willow Street.

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2016 at 4:15 PM

WBUR poll of NH independents: Kasich rising into 2nd-place tie; Christie, Rubio fading

Meaningless contortionist headline.

Pole-Cat on January 21, 2016 at 4:26 PM

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2016 at 4:15 PM

Wow. I have been to North Conway in a bit. Sorry to hear it’s getting all built up. A double-sized super Walmart? wowow.

dogsoldier on January 22, 2016 at 8:05 AM

I meant “haven’t been.”

dogsoldier on January 22, 2016 at 8:05 AM