Two new polls released today from Quinnipiac University and Boston Herald/FPU respectively show a Donald Trump has a small lead in Iowa and a large lead in New Hampshire. The Quinnipiac poll shows Trump has a two point lead in Iowa, while the Boston Herald/FPU poll has Trump with a 19 point lead in New Hampshire.
According to the Quinnipiac poll Donald Trump leads the Republican field in Iowa with 31 percent of the vote. Ted Cruz comes in second with 29 percent of the vote followed by Marco Rubio in a distant third with 13 percent. Ben Carson places a distant fourth with 7 percent, and all other candidates are garnering 5 percent support or below.
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from January 18-January 24, 2016. The sample includes 651 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants. That is a fairly large sample compared to other Iowa Caucus pollsters, and the poll has a large margin-of-error equal to +/- 3.8 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac poll matches up well with other polls that show the Iowa as a tight race between Trump and Cruz. A Real Clear Politics average of six Iowa polls released over the last week shows Trump with 33.2 percent support followed by Cruz with 27.5 percent support. Marco Rubio garners only 12.0 percent support in the RCP average, followed by Ben Carson with 7.2 percent support. All other candidates, such as George Bush, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul, are polling at 3.8 percent or below.
Of course much can change over the next six days leading up to the Iowa Caucus. Notably, in 2012 the polls had Rick Santorum polling at just 9.8 percent and Rand Paul leading with 22.5 percent support in Iowa. Santorum ended up winning the Iowa Caucus in 2012 with 24.6 percent support, and Paul ended up third with 21.4 percent. Mitt Romney went on to win the Republican Party nomination in 2012 after winning New Hampshire and gaining broader support than Santorum in later primary states. It is possible to envision a scenario where the more moderate voters coalesce around Marco Rubio, though that certainly has yet to unfold so far.
According to a poll of likely New Hampshire primary voters by Boston Herald/FPU, Donald Trump holds a fairly large lead there with 33 percent of the vote, compared to 14 percent for Ted Cruz. Among the more moderate candidates, the Boston Herald/FPU poll has John Kasich polling at 12 percent, Marco Rubio Jeb Bush at 9 percent, and Chris Christie at 7 percent.
The Boston Herald/FPU poll was conducted from January 20-24, 2016. The sample includes 444 registered, likely Republican voters in New Hampshire That is a fairly small sample, and the poll has a large margin-of-error equal to +/- 4.7 percentage points.
Analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight gives Quinnipiac a B+ rating in his ranking of pollsters based on partially on Quinnipiac’s performance over 133 released surveys. Silver has not given a rating to the Boston Herald/FPU, likely because their polling is largely restricted just to the New Hampshire primary.
The Boston Herald/FPU poll matches up well with other polls that show Trump dominating in New Hampshire. A Real Clear Politics average of six polls in New Hampshire has Trump with 32.3 percent support, compared to 12.8 percent for Ted Cruz and 12.0 percent for John Kasich. Marco Rubio comes in fourth with 10.7 percent support, followed by Chris Christie with 7.3 percent, and Rand Paul with 4.2 percent. All other candidates are currently polling at 3.8 percent or below in New Hampshire.
Currently the more moderate vote in New Hampshire appears to be divided between Kasich, Rubio, Bush, and Christie. If the moderate vote united behind one candidate those votes could overcome Trump’s support. Right now Trump appears to have a solid hold on the Granite State, and his grip may only tighten should he win in Iowa.