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Poll finds NH majority back GOP challenge to Trump in 2020 primary

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 20. 2018 12:50AM
President Donald Trump (James Borchuck/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)

A solid majority of registered voters and four in 10 Republicans believe a Republican primary challenge to President Trump in 2020 “would be a good thing,” according to a new independent poll released Sunday.

This latest survey from New Hampshire Journal found 56 percent of all voters said a GOP rival to Trump two years from now would be welcome, while 27 percent said it would be a bad thing.

Among Republicans, 47 percent thought having someone take on Trump in the first-in-the-nation primary here would be bad, 40 percent said it would be good and 13 percent of New Hampshire Republicans were not sure.

“The fact that 40 percent of Republicans in an early and influential state like New Hampshire think a Trump primary challenge would be ‘a good thing’ should get the GOP’s attention,” said New Hampshire Journal’s Politics Editor Michael Graham. “The fact that nearly 60 percent of unaffiliated or independent voters — all of whom can also vote in the 2020 primary — agree raises the stakes even higher.”

The survey of 626 done by land-line telephone and through online balloting from Aug. 12 to 15 had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

Praecones Analytica conducted the poll.

President Trump’s overall approval in New Hampshire, 41 percent approving to 54 percent disapproving, mirrors findings from the national average of polls, according to Real Clear Politics.

But Trump’s approval among New Hampshire Republicans, 72 percent, was 10 points below his standing with the GOP nationwide.

Among all surveyed in this poll, 50 percent said they were unlikely to vote for Trump in 2020 while 36 percent said they would.

Against a generic Democratic candidate, Trump trails with 38 percent to 49 percent for the unnamed Democrat.

On the plus side, more voters say the economy under Trump has been better than it was during the Obama presidency.

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, federal judge Brett Kavanaugh, is in a virtual dead heat, with 43 percent favoring the choice, while 39 percent oppose it.

The poll did not test potential match ups for the general election of any races in New Hampshire politics.

It did report that one-term Gov. Chris Sununu, a Newfields Republican, had a strong positive rating among all voters, with 55 percent approving and 24 percent disapproving.

Sununu leads a generic Democratic candidate, 46 to 33 percent, but the undecided number of 20 percent is significant.

“Despite President Trump’s poor poll numbers, Chris Sununu continues to show real strength,” Graham said. “He’s got the support of a majority of unaffiliated voters (52 percent), a significant number of Democrats (35 percent) and he is even slightly more popular among New Hampshire Republicans (77-72 percent) than President Trump.”

With less than a month before the Sept. 11 primaries, the two parties are neck and neck when it comes to congressional preference.

Among all voters, 44 percent said they would support an unnamed Democratic candidate for Congress while 41 percent favored a Republican one, the poll found.

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