A new pre-midterm poll just out in New Hampshire finds almost half of respondents (46 percent) say the economy is better today under President Trump than the last guy to hold that office.
However, a whopping majority of New Hampshire voters — and fully 40 percent of Republicans — say it would “be a good thing” if at least one other Republican challenged Trump in the state’s 2020 primary.
New Hampshire voters are often an ornery sort and their votes only matter early each presidential election year. But this could represent a worrisome omen for the incumbent president, who easily won the Granite State GOP primary in 2016.
You probably remember all these precise numbers. But just in case, Trump took more than a third of the 2016 vote (35.2 percent) in the crowded GOP primary there followed by John Kasich (15.7), Ted Cruz (11.6), Jeb Bush (11), Marco Rubio (10.5) and Chris Christie (7.4). Judging by the moves of term-limited Kasich, who leaves the Ohio governorship in January, he’s likely to show up in New Hampshire again whether they want him there or not.
But this time the story looks different as if New Hampshire voters want another choice too. As reported by Michael Graham of NHJournal.com, 56 percent of the 626 registered voters polled said a GOP primary opponent for Trump would be desirable, while only 27 percent saw a negative side. Seventeen percent didn’t really know.
A small plurality of 47 percent of registered Republicans reported that having another GOP candidate go up against the incumbent president would be a bad thing, but 40 percent said it would be good and 13 percent of Granite State Republicans were unsure.
“The fact that 40 percent of Republicans in an early and influential state like New Hampshire think a Trump primary challenge would be ‘a good thing’ should get the GOP’s attention,” said Graham, NHJournal’s Politics Editor. “The fact that nearly 60 percent of unaffiliated voters—all of whom can also vote in the 2020 primary—agree raises the stakes even higher.”
As you surely recall, Hillary Clinton narrowly captured New Hampshire’s four Electoral Votes in 2016 by only 2,736 out of 699,316 total. Graham’s poll found 40.6 percent Very or Somewhat likely to vote for Trump in 2020. Just under half (49.5) said “Not at All Likely.”
The president’s current job approval in New Hampshire is still underwater, with 40.7 percent approving, 53.9 disapproving and 5.3 percent unsure.
But in advance of New Hampshire’s congressional primaries on Sept. 11, the generic ballot in the NHJournal poll is a statistical dead heat, with 44.2 percent saying they support a Democrat and 41.3 percent saying a GOP candidate.