Current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump maintains a strong lead in New Hampshire, while establishment pick Jeb Bush has steadily lost support in the early-voting Granite State, says the new NBC News/Marist poll.
Trump is 16 percentage points ahead of his closest competitor, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and has 28 percent of likely Republican voters backing him.
Dr. Ben Carson came in third place with 11 percent of the vote, while Bush dropped to fourth place at eight percent.
Bush has lost almost half his supporters in New Hampshire since July, when he was in second place behind Trump with 14 percent to Trump’s 21 percent. Since February’s, he’s lost almost two-thirds of his support, when he was at 18 percent.
Bush’s support in Iowa also dropped by half, according to NBC/Marist poll. In July, he placed third with 12 percent. Now, only six percent of likely Republican voters in the Hawkeye state chose him as their first pick.
In New Hampshire, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suffered the greatest decline. He’s lost almost three-quarters of his support, and has crashed from 15 percent in February to four percent in early September. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another establishment favorite, clocks in at only three percent after trying to sell unpopular, recycled Gang of Eight cheap-labor talking points. Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and George Pataki each have less than one percent support. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tops them at one percent on likely GOP caucus voters.
For the moment, Bush is afloat in the poll’s broader survey of all registered voters. He still defeats Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical match-up, 48 to 43, and Joe Biden by one percent.
The new numbers come as Trump has repeatedly attacked Bush as “low energy,” with an angry Bush declaring he will campaign 16 hours a day and denouncing him in Spanish.
The need to speak Spanish in a country founded and built by English settlers — plus some Dutch — is “the reality of America,” Bush said. “We should celebrate diversity,” he insists, even though scientific studies shows forced cultural variety reduces civic cooperation and even health.
Bush’s favorability ratings continue to slip: In July, 56 percent of New Hampshire Republicans had a favorable view of him, but only 49 percent do now. Thirty-eight percent have an unfavorable view of him, an increase from 32 percent in July. Fifty-one percent of all registered voters and residents in the Granite State have an unfavorable view of him.
In contrast, 56 percent of Republicans look at Trump favorably, up from 39 percent in July. Trump appears to have won over a significant bloc of GOP voters: His unfavorable ratings declined from 53 to 39 percent in two months. Unfavorable ratings from registered voters and residents have likewise declined slightly, with 67 and 65 in July to 59 and 58, respectively.
Trump’s favorability ratings notably increased while voters became more opposed to Bush from July to September.
Trump’s strong immigration stand taken on behalf of Americans, as opposed to foreigners, is appealing to Republicans. Fifty-six percent of voters say they are less likely to support a candidate who offers citizenship to illegal migrants, down from 63 percent in July, but still a firm majority. Forty-three percent say they would be more likely to back a candidate who supports a Constitutional amendment to strip birthright citizenship from anchor babies, one of which is born every 93 seconds.
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