DeSantis Falls to Fifth in New Hampshire Poll in Latest Campaign Reverse

DeSantis Falls to Fifth in New Hampshire Poll in Latest Campaign Reverse – In a recent New Hampshire poll conducted by CNN and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, slipped to the fifth position. He found himself trailing behind not only Donald Trump, who is the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, but also Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, and Chris Christie. 

This poll serves as another concerning development for DeSantis, whose strongly conservative campaign has faced challenges ever since its tumultuous launch in May, marked by technical issues during an event with Elon Musk on his social media platform. The ex-president is currently confronting a total of 91 criminal allegations, ranging from election interference, the mishandling of classified information, and making hush-money payments, to civil lawsuits, including a defamation case in which he was found liable for sexual assault.

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Despite these legal challenges, he vehemently maintains his innocence and portrays himself as a victim of political persecution. Remarkably, his standing among Republicans remains largely unscathed. While his approval rating dipped to 39% in the New Hampshire poll, which is lower than in national and other crucial state polls, he still holds a substantial lead. 

Describing “a close contest for second”, CNN put the biotech entrepreneur Ramaswamy at 13%, the former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley at 12% and Christie, a former New Jersey governor running explicitly against Trump – and focusing on New Hampshire – at 11%.  Following closely behind was DeSantis with a 10% share of support, marking a significant decline of 13 points compared to the previous poll conducted in July.

The governor of Florida has conducted an unwaveringly conservative campaign, striving to position himself even further to the right than Trump, who is widely considered an extremist by various standards. “DeSantis’s decline comes largely among moderates,” CNN said, detailing a 20-point drop in such support, “while Haley has gained ground with that group. Ramaswamy’s standing has grown among younger voters and registered Republicans. And Christie’s gains are centered among independents and Democrats who say they will participate in the GOP primary.”

Ramaswamy and Haley garnered significant praise for their performances in the initial debate held in Wisconsin last month. The upcoming second debate is scheduled to take place in California next week, and once again, Trump is expected to abstain from participating. In the CNN-UNH poll, candidates outside the top five included South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who secured 6% of the support, and Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor and Trump’s vice-president, who achieved a 2% rating. No other candidate managed to surpass the 1% threshold.

New Hampshire will be the second state to hold its primary. Reports have indicated that Trump is preparing to launch criticisms against DeSantis in the first state, Iowa, where DeSantis has been actively targeting evangelical voters. According to the author Michael Wolff, Rupert Murdoch, the Fox News owner, originally believed Trump would lose to DeSantis in Iowa because “it was going to come out about the abortions Trump had paid for”. Iowa polling, however, returns consistent Trump leads.

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Speaking to the New York Times, David Polyansky, DeSantis’s deputy campaign manager, said: “Winning an Iowa caucus is very difficult. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline. It takes an incredible amount of hard work and organisation, traditionally. So much so that even in his heyday, Donald Trump couldn’t win it in 2016.” 

Back then, Iowa was won by the Texas senator Ted Cruz. However, Trump ultimately clinched the nomination and went on to secure the presidency. Recently, DeSantis unveiled his energy policy at an oil rig in Texas, drawing attention by stating that his adversaries were deliberately inflaming concerns about the climate crisis.

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