The final poll results released as New Hampshire voters make their choices on a snowy primary day indicate that despite fluctuations in his support over time, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump remains on top.
The poll by American Research Group (ARG), taken Sunday and Monday, showed Trump supported by 33 percent of respondents, well up from the 21 percent ARG showed him with in December, but slightly below the 36 percent mark Trump achieved in a poll conducted Feb. 3 and Feb. 4.
The most recent ARG poll shows Ohio Gov. John Kasich second at 17 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., at 14 percent and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at 10 percent. Rubio’s support had risen as high as 17 percent in ARG’s polls last week, prior to Saturday night’s GOP debate. Since December, Kasich has consistently polled in the mid-teens, hitting 20 percent in mid-January, while Cruz has hovered near the 10 percent mark.
In the most recent poll, former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush places fourth at 9 percent and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie places fifth at 8 percent.
“The real interest is in the race for second place,” wrote Gabrielle Levy for U.S. News and World Report.
“Rubio needs to finish second in order to stay on track with his 3-2-1 strategy, which counts on him climbing the ranks in each successive state to emerge as the establishment candidate best suited to compete in November,” she wrote. “Cruz, meanwhile, was able to win over Iowa’s large evangelical voting bloc, but analysts also say he must demonstrate his appeal can extend to states where that constituency is smaller.”
Levy noted Rubio’s drastic change in fortune in just a few days.
“After his strong finish in the Iowa Republican caucuses last week, Rubio looked poised to assume the various badges of success: establishment favorite, chief rival to Trump, uniter of the GOP,” she wrote. “But on the heels of his disastrous performance in Saturday night’s debate, Rubio may have undercut any Iowa bounce, and arguably made himself vulnerable to a third-place finish — or fourth-place, or even worse, in Tuesday’s primary.”
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.