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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Trump Maintains GOP Lead

Monday, September 14, 2015

Granite State Republicans upset with national party leadership

West Long Branch, NJ  - Donald Trump maintains his sizable edge in the New Hampshire Republican primary according to the latest Monmouth University Poll .  Ben Carson has rocketed to the second spot and John Kasich holds onto third, while Jeb Bush has dropped from second place into a tie for fifth.  These findings come at a time when Republican voters express deep dissatisfaction with the party's national leadership, making these results seem like an "airing of grievances" akin to the Festivus episode of Seinfeld.

Nearly 3-in-10 (28%) likely GOP primary voters in New Hampshire currently back Donald Trump for the presidential nomination, with Ben Carson (17%) and John Kasich (11%) the only other candidates registering double digit support.  Following them are Ted Cruz (8%), Carly Fiorina (7%), Jeb Bush (7%), Rand Paul (4%), and Marco Rubio (4%).  Scott Walker and Chris Christie each earn 2%, and none of the other six candidates tested registered more than 1%.  [ Note: Rick Perry's name was removed from the poll after the first night of interviewing, with no support for him recorded in those initial interviews.]

Ben Carson's support in New Hampshire has jumped by 12 percentage points since Monmouth's prior poll, which was taken in late July shortly before the first debate.  Cruz's support has increased by 5 points, while support for Trump, Kasich and Fiorina have each gone up by 4 points.  Support for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker each dropped by 5 points.

"Once again, the three candidates who have never held political office combine for a majority of support in a GOP primary poll," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.  "This race has turned into the 'Festivus' campaign.  It appears that GOP voters are using the 2016 nomination contest to air their grievances with party leadership."

As Monmouth has found both nationally and in other early primary states, New Hampshire GOP voters decisively prefer that the next president come from outside government (68%) rather than have government experience on their résumé (23%).  This sentiment seems to be related to their dismal view of the Republican Party in general.

Just 33% of GOP primary voters say that the national Republican Party is doing a good job representing the concerns of voters like them.  A majority of 55% say it is doing a bad job - a finding which is similar for very conservative (57%), somewhat conservative (58%), and moderate (50%) voters alike.

Furthermore, two-thirds of New Hampshire Republicans are either very (33%) or somewhat (33%) dissatisfied with Republican leaders in Congress.  The remaining third are largely somewhat satisfied (31%), with very few (2%) saying they are very satisfied.  Among voters who are very dissatisfied with the party's Washington leadership, Trump leads the primary race with 35% followed by Carson at 15%.  Among those who are somewhat dissatisfied, Trump has 30% support and Carson has 18%.  Trump and Carson also lead among voters who are actually satisfied with the GOP leadership in DC, but their combined share of the vote is smaller.  Among this satisfied group, voter support stands at 21% for Trump, 15% for Carson, 13% for Bush, and 10% for Kasich.

"Republican voters are fed up and as a result appear to be rejecting the GOP's game plan for this nomination contest," said Murray.  "As with the classic episode of Seinfeld, the Festivus nature of this campaign won't be over unless the leader - in this case, Trump - is taken down.  Rick Perry was the first challenger who failed in the 'feats of strength' against Trump."

The Monmouth University Poll  found that Donald Trump leads among most segments of the Granite State primary electorate, including:

  • Party  - New Hampshire's open primary system allows undeclared voters to participate in party primaries.  There is no significant difference in support levels based on partisan registration. Trump does equally as well among registered Republicans (28%) as he does among registered independents and new voters (29%).  This marks a 7 point improvement in his support among registered Republicans and no change among other voters since July.
  • Ideology  - Trump's support has declined slightly among very conservative voters, but has improved among somewhat conservative and moderate voters.  Very conservative voters back Carson (25%), Trump (23%), and Cruz (13%).  Somewhat conservative voters support Trump (32%), followed by Carson (17%).  Moderate voters back Trump (29%) and Kasich (19%).

Looking at fundamental voter opinion of the candidates, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and John Kasich have all become better known to New Hampshire primary voters since Monmouth's last poll.  Carson's rating is now the best in the field at 73% favorable to just 10% unfavorable, which is up from 45% to 15% in July.  Fiorina's rating is 58% favorable to 21% unfavorable, up from 47% to 17% in the prior poll.  Kasich is slightly better known than he was two months ago with a rating of 54% favorable to 19% unfavorable, compared with 45% to 15% in July.

Ratings for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have also improved.  Trump now stands at 54% favorable to 36% unfavorable, which is up from 47% to 44% in July.  Cruz's rating is 50% favorable to 28% unfavorable, up from 44% to 32% in July.

Ratings for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, on the other hand, have dropped considerably in the past two months.  Bush now stands at 39% favorable to 45% unfavorable, compared with 47% to 37% two months ago.  Walker's rating is currently 44% favorable to 25% unfavorable, compared with 57% to 16% in July.

The other four candidates tested in the poll have seen their ratings drop slightly since July.  This includes Marco Rubio at 50% favorable to 26% unfavorable (53% to 22% in July), Chris Christie at 38% to 46% (42% to 40% in July), Mike Huckabee at 36% to 45% (42% to 33% in July), and Rand Paul at 37% to 43% (43% to 31% in July).

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone from September 10 to 13, 2015 with 415 New Hampshire voters likely to vote in the Republican presidential primary.  This sample has a margin of error of ± 4.8 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.


The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.     Who would you support if the presidential primary was being held today and the candidates for the Republican nomination were – [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

2.      And who would be your second choice?

3.      I’m going to read you a few names of people who are running for president in 2016.  Please tell me if your general impression of each is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion.  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

4.      Regardless of who you support, what do you think the country needs more in the next president:  someone with government experience who knows how to get things done OR someone outside of government who can bring a new approach to Washington? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED]

5.      In deciding who to support for the Republican nomination for president, is it more important to you:  that the candidate has the right positions on issues that are most important to you   OR  that the candidate has the personal qualities and experiences you feel are needed for the job? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED]

6.      Overall, is the national Republican Party doing a good job or bad job representing the concerns of voters like you?

7.      How satisfied are you with the Republican leaders in Congress – are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?


The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from September 10 to 13, 2015 with a statewide random sample of 415 New Hampshire voters drawn from a list of registered Republican and independent voters who participated in a primary election in the past two election cycles or voted in both the 2012 and 2014 general elections, and indicate they will vote in the Republican presidential primary in February 2016.  This was supplemented by a sample of non-voters who say they are likely to register and vote in the Republican primary.  This includes 277 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 138 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for age and gender based on state registration list information on the pool of voters who participate in primary elections. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Aristotle (voter list and non-voter sample). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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