Chris Wallace pointed to the numbers on a new CNN poll showing that former President Donald J. Trump is clobbering the competition in the key early-voting state of New Hampshire as being very positive for the embattled GOP frontrunner but not so much for his two highest-profile rivals.
On Wednesday night’s edition of “CNN Primetime,” Wallace discussed the numbers with co-anchor Abby Phillip, saying that the poll is “good news for Trump” who despite a boatload of legal troubles isn’t losing ground with Republican voters as he remains in cruise control for the party’s nomination next summer and a likely rematch with President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election.
Phillip introduced the poll, showing that Trump holds a commanding lead at 39 percent among likely primary voters, up 2 percent from two months ago with the biggest decline being seen from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who has dropped off a cliff, plummeting from 23 percent in July to 10 percent now, good for only fifth place among contenders.
“It looks like in New Hampshire, they are not all that into Ron DeSantis. It’s pretty remarkable. Donald Trump in this new poll is the clear frontrunner,” she said. “He’s at 39 percent support. But there is a four-way tie now within the margin of error for second place between DeSantis, who’s dropped 13 points, and is now at 10 percent. And then there’s Chris Christie at 11, Haley at 12. To me, this is one of the first times we’ve really seen a lot of movement. And it’s not the kind of movement that Ron DeSantis, I think, has been hoping for.”
“No, I agree. That’s the lead to this poll. DeSantis has dropped 13 points since July. More than half of his support is gone, and especially among moderates,” Wallace said of the Sunshine State Republican whose presidential campaign has failed to catch fire largely due to months of constantly negative and largely dishonest media coverage and a near-daily onslaught of attacks from Trump and his surrogates.
“And he was in a tier. He wasn’t up there with Trump. But he was certainly in a tier ahead of those other guys. And now, suddenly, not only is he not second, I guess he’s running, what, fifth or sixth or something. And Ramaswamy is actually in the lead of the second tier,” he added of the dynamic young political newcomer.
“It’s good news for Trump,” Wallace stated. “He doesn’t have the majority support that you see him nationally and in a number of other states, but still, he’s at 39 percent, and his closest contender, Ramaswamy, is at 13. I think he would take that.”
Not faring much better was former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who has staked his one-issue campaign hopes to his performance in the Granite State’s GOP primary in February and Wallace sees his inability to break out of the low single digits as a bad sign for his hopes.
“I also think it’s bad news for Chris Christie,” he said. “If there’s one state where he’s got to do well, it’s in a more moderate Republican state like New Hampshire. He’s down at around 11 percent. If he finishes…”
Philip cut in, “Do a little bit better than Ron DeSantis, though, I have to say, I mean, if you’re Chris Christie.”
“But if he finishes at that low with less than a third of the support of Trump, I don’t know how he would continue,” Wallace said. “And as you say, the lead, DeSantis in real trouble at least in New Hampshire.”
Christie has struggled mightily, betting big on his ability to land a death blow on Trump during a nationally televised debate but the frontrunner has declined to participate in the early debates given his commanding lead and the presence of so many no-hopers looking for their big moment with attacks on him.
The former governor recently told the New York Times that he could throw in the towel if he doesn’t do well in New Hampshire, a state that he has devoted a considerable amount of time and resources to.
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