Trump’s lead grows in New Hampshire

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRNC official: We won’t go full Trump on party platform Green Party could be election spoiler Trump courts energy industry MORE has increased his lead over the Republican presidential field in New Hampshire, where he holds a more than 2-to-1 advantage over the next-closest contender, a new poll finds.

According to a Monmouth University survey released on Monday, Trump has 32 percent support in New Hampshire, up from 26 percent when the same question was asked in November. 

Trump’s 6-point gain is the largest for any candidate in the GOP field. His favorability rating has also ticked up and now sits at 52 percent positive and 40 percent negative.

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Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump wins Washington state primary Overnight Cybersecurity: House to offer bill on government hacking powers Overnight Tech: Rubio, Cruz take up internet domain fight MORE (R-Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich lead a distant second tier of candidates in the state, with 14 percent support each. That’s a 5-point bump for Cruz since November and a 3-point increase for Kasich.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioNew Mexico GOP gov. won’t attend home-state Trump rally Rubio: 'It’s not that we lost, it’s that Donald Trump won’ Santorum endorses Trump after 'long heart-to-heart' MORE (R-Fla.) is in fourth place, at 12 percent, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with 8 percent support.

“As Granite State voters start to firm up their decision, it’s looking more and more unlikely that Trump will be toppled from his perch," said Monmouth polling director Patrick Murray. "The real fight is for second place.”

Rounding out the field are businesswoman Carly Fiorina, at 5 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Paul ties release of 9/11 docs to defense bill Will Ted Cruz let it go? MORE (R-Ky.), at 4 percent each.

Bush is the only Republican candidate who GOP voters view negatively. Only 39 percent of Republicans voters in New Hampshire have a positive view of Bush, compared to 47 percent who view him negatively.

Those are devastating figures for Bush, who is campaigning heavily in the state and needs a top finish there to keep his campaign afloat.

The survey also has bad news for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who in the November version of the poll was in second place, with 16 percent support. Carson is now in ninth place, with 3 percent.

Carson once had the highest favorability rating of any candidate in the field but now he sits at 46 percent positive and 34 percent negative.

Carson’s fall could be attributed to the GOP race turning to foreign policy in the wake of several high-profile terror attacks. Carson has struggled to show a firm grasp on national security, which the poll found is the top issue among Republican voters in New Hampshire.

Still, there is some good news for non-Trump candidates in the poll. Only a third of voters in the state have settled on a final choice, though that figure is up from 20 percent in the previous poll. 

About 40 percent of voters in the state are leaning strongly toward one candidate but haven’t made up their minds for sure yet.

The Monmouth University poll of 414 likely Republican primary voters was conducted between Jan. 7 and Jan. 10 and has a 4.8 percentage point margin of error.

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