American Research Group just released a New Hampshire poll that shows Donald Trump in front with 27%.
But that’s just the headline. There are some other fascinating details that probably won’t make the headlines. And let me tell you, the stuff buried within this poll is very telling.
First of all, in second place with 20% is Ohio Governor John Kasich. Kasich you say?! Holy smokes. How did that happen?! Hasn’t Trump been saying that Kasich is polling in the basement and should drop out?
Haven’t we all been saying Kasich should drop out?!
Well, Kasich is polling in the basement in Iowa because he has effectively ignored Iowa in favor of New Hampshire. He is pouring all of his time and money into the Granite State hoping to be able to eke out a win.
And here’s the information that is buried.
ARG distinguishes between people who will definitely be voting in the primary and people who maybe will be voting in the primary.
Among the “maybe I’ll vote in the primary” group (19% of those surveyed), Trump is at 39% and Kasich is at 11%.
But when you look at the “definitely” column (81% of those surveyed) the numbers radically change.
Trump gets 24% and Kasich is well within the margin of error with 22%.
One of the things pundits have been wondering is will Trump’s yuge support in polls translate into actual votes. If this poll is any indication, that is a seriously good question. He loses 15 percentage points between the “maybe” and “definitely” crowd. No other candidate drops that much. In fact, no other candidate suffers a drop at all. Every other candidate either stays in the same place or goes up when the “maybe I’ll vote” people are not included. But nobody goes up nearly as much as Kasich whose numbers double. The next closest is Marco Rubio who jumps from 7% to 11%.
I think this specific distinction is where the action is here.
And it leads me to suspect that a large percentage of those who say they support Trump may not bother actually turning up on primary day.
Get out the vote is vital to victory. That’s just the facts. One of the reasons Romney lost (okay, there were many reasons) was he had a terrible GOTV ground game. If Trump’s campaign cannot translate those “maybe I’ll vote in the primary” respondents to “Don’t worry, I’m there” voters, his “in the bag” lead in New Hampshire may end up being worth about as much as air in a jug.
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