Trump stable while Biden slipping, polling shows

While President Joe Biden’s approval continues to dip amid concerns over his handling of Israel’s sudden war with Hamas, former President Donald Trump’s hold on the Republican electorate remains unchanged, new polling shows.

A national poll released by NBC on Sunday shows Trump leading the rest of the Republican field by 40 points and beating Biden by 2 points. Biden’s approval rating has dropped to 40%.

“It’s only a slight overall change from September, when Biden’s approval rating was at 41% — which was then tied with his previous low in the poll. Yet what stands out in the new survey is the shift among voters ages 18 to 34. In September, 46% of these voters said they approved of Biden’s job performance. Now? Biden’s approval rating dropped to 31% among these voters,” pollsters wrote.

Trump leads the next closest candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 58% to 18%, according to the NBC poll. That’s essentially unchanged from past surveys, according to pollsters.

A Washington Post-Monmouth University poll of New Hampshire voters showed about the same results for Trump in the Granite State.

A full 46% of polled voters said they will support Trump, and a further 9% say they will vote for him if their first non-Trump choice drops out before the primary. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who will be in New Hampshire on Monday, comes in second at 18%, with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in third at 11%. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was leading in the Granite State as of January, now polls in fifth below businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

“The enthusiasm gap between Trump supporters and other New Hampshire primary voters is better described as a chasm. Even though Haley is well-regarded, she just doesn’t spark the kind of emotional connection that helps the former president maintain his base’s loyalty,” said Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray said with the release of the poll.

The 45th president, according to the poll of first-in-the-nation primary voters, has not been much impacted — politically, at least — by the force of 91 felony charges leveled against him across four jurisdictions. Less than one in 10 New Hampshire Trump supporters believes Biden legitimately won the White House in 2020 and precisely zero think he did anything wrong after losing the last election, according to that poll.

“Looking back at the 2020 election, very few Trump voters say that Biden won fairly (9%, compared with 65% of other candidates’ backers) and they are also much less likely to say Trump engaged in criminal activity in his response to that election (0% compared with 43% among other voters),” pollsters wrote. “Overall, 22% of potential New Hampshire Republican primary voters say Trump actually committed a crime, while 29% say he did something wrong although not criminal, and 45% said he did nothing wrong.”

As is normal in presidential election years, ahead of the January 23 primary politicians have flooded New Hampshire with political ads and made frequent stops there over the summer and this fall. However, despite the fact that voters in the Granite State will be the first to the polls and are used to vetting White House hopefuls, not many have run into a candidate this cycle, according to the poll.

Thus far, only 17% of New Hampshire Republican primary voters say they have met one of the major party candidates, less than half what is usual when compared to a similar polling ahead of the 2016 primary, when 41% reported meeting a candidate.

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