Since the Harper poll of New Hampshire is pretty bad (landline only, “The fav/unfav numbers are so absurd it has to be a transcription error – Jay Cost, “That poll looks weird” – Harry Enten), we’ve still only got the UMass tracking poll to work with.
And in the tracking poll, one candidate is even, one is down, and one is up.
The guy who’s even is Ted Cruz. He’s up two points from before Iowa, but is holding steady at 14, for third place. His critics say New Hampshire is far too left-leaning for him.
In second place now is Marco Rubio. His detractors have called his movement in this poll “noise,” but you don’t randomly make a steady move from 8, to 10, to 12, to 15 after a shockingly good result in Iowa. Despite Jeb Bush’s best efforts, and additionally the massive establishment spending through the Right to Rise PAC, Marco Rubio will not be denied. He’s now in second place in the poll.
Donald Trump still leads, but he had his first movement since Iowa and it was negative. Being down two points isn’t terrible news at all for him when he’s still at 36, over twice Rubio’s figure. I expect him to get the lion’s share of the delegates in the state simply because of how non-proportional the state’s delegate distribution is. You have to hit 10% to get delegates, or they go to the plurality winner. In other words, by staying in the race, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich are handing delegates to Donald Trump.
All the guys in single digits should drop out now, and put country above self. For a change.