Washington, DC [US], September 21 (ANI): Former President Donald Trump continues to lead far ahead of other Republican hopefuls in the GOP primary polls in New Hampshire, but a close contest has emerged for the second place between Indian-American Vivek Ramaswamy and three others, according to a new poll by CNN/University of New Hampshire.
According to the poll, a close contest is being seen for the second place among four candidates- Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie and Ron DeSantis - seeking to gain traction as an alternative to the front-runner. Overall, Trump is the first choice of 39 per cent of likely GOP primary voters in the first-in-the-nation primary state. However, the number is a bit behind his performance nationally, where he is seen with majority support.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who stood out as Trump's chief rival in the last UNH survey on the New Hampshire race in July, has dropped 13 points since then to just 10 per cent support, CNN reported.
DeSantis is now running about even against three rising candidates: tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (13 per cent), former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (12 per cent) and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (11 per cent).
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is at 6 per cent support in the poll and former Vice President Mike Pence holds 2 per cent. No other candidate tops 1 per cent.
As per CNN, the decline of DeSantis stems from a sharp drop-off among moderates, from 26 per cent backing him in July to 6 per cent now. He fell a smaller 8 points among conservatives.
The gains made by the other candidates who are now more competitive with DeSantis seem to be playing out across some clear demographic and political contours.
Meanwhile, Ramaswamy's rise is concentrated more among those who are not registered Republicans, and among younger likely voters. He has gained 16 points since July with the former group while holding relatively steady among registered Republicans. Also, he is up 28 points among those younger than 35 and 11 points among those ages 35 to 49 while holding about even among those ages 50 or older, CNN reported.
Christie's growth is concentrated among those who identify as independents or Democrats but say they will vote in the GOP primary (from 23 per cent support in July to 38 per cent now, while among self-identified Republicans, he's holding roughly steady at 3 per cent support).
Another Indian-American candidate, Nikki Haley's rise is a bit larger among those with more formal education and among moderates. She is up 11 points among those who have completed some postgraduate work and 15 points among other college graduates. She also gained 18 points among the moderate group, while her support among conservatives is roughly even with July.
In a breakdown of voters, those not backing Trump say they prioritize the economy (48 per cent) as the top issue in making their decision about whom to support, with far fewer pointing to immigration (14 per cent), CNN reported.
Trump supporters, on the other hand, are more evenly split between the economy (28 per cent) and immigration (25 per cent), followed by issues around personal freedom (10 per cent) and the cost of living (9 per cent).
Meanwhile, the sharpest policy divide between Trump backers and those supporting other candidates comes over funding for Ukraine.
While, 84 per cent of Trump backers say they support stopping all military funding for Ukraine, while just 39 per cent of those backing other candidates feel the same way.
There's a nearly 40-point gap between Trump supporters and others over support for a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks (78 per cent of Trump supporters back it vs. 40 per cent of those behind other candidates), and a 32-point difference over abolishing the federal government's Department of Education (81 per cent among Trump backers, 49 per cent among others), according to CNN.
There are significantly smaller differences in requiring transgender athletes to compete on teams that match their assigned sex at birth rather than their gender identity (95 per cent of Trump supporters and 83 per cent of those behind other candidates support that), and there's broad agreement on returning federal spending to its pre-Covid levels (86 per cent of Trump supporters and 73 per cent of those behind other candidates support that).
However, those not backing Trump have different priorities for the traits they would like to see in a presidential nominee.
While roughly three-quarters of those who back candidates other than Trump say it is very important that the Republican nominee attract support from outside the party (75 per cent), less than half of Trump supporters feel the same way (45 per cent), according to CNN.
Trump backers broadly want a candidate who will fight for conservative values even when they are unpopular (93 per cent) and who is not a typical politician (64 per cent), but far fewer backing others agree (50 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively).
Those backing someone besides Trump are more than three times as likely as Trump supporters to say it's important that the GOP nominee is respectful to others (73 per cent vs. 23 per cent) while the vast majority in both camps say they are looking for a candidate who says what he or she believes, CNN reported. (ANI)