A new poll conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center (SACSC) at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) finds President Joe Biden facing weak support for re-election.  Although his job approval has improved somewhat since the mid-term elections, he is still underwater at 45%-54%. This translates into a weak primary ballot, with only 34% of those intending to vote in the Democratic presidential primary indicating support for the incumbent.  Trailing Biden is Secretary of Transportation and 2020 New Hampshire Primary runner-up Pete Buttigieg (18%), former First Lady Michelle Obama (14%), and Senator and 2020 New Hampshire winner Bernie Sanders (11%).  Governors Gretchen Whitmer and Gavin Newsom along with Vice President Kamala Harris trail the pack at 4% each, while declared candidate Marianne Williamson (2%) and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (1%) show very little current support.

Reminiscent of the 2016 cycle, Donald Trump leads with a strong plurality among those intending to vote in the Republican presidential primary as support is fractured among declared and potential opponents.  Trump currently leads the field with 42%, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (29%), Governor Chris Sununu (14%), former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (4%), and recent entrant Vivek Ramaswamy (3%).

New Hampshire voters remain pessimistic with only 15% believe that the country is on the “right track”, the lowest percentage in the history of this poll.  74% believe that it is on the “wrong track” - tied for the highest percentage. 70% believe the electoral system would be improved with inclusion of additional parties; a strong 79% willing to consider an independent or third-party candidate.

Governor Chris Sununu remains the strongest major officeholder in the state.  Sununu retains a 61%-37% job approval, virtually unchanged since August of last year (60%-37%).  The members of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation have largely recovered from last year’s campaign. Senator Jeanne Shaheen now stands at 51%-40% approval, up from 47%-46% in August. Senator Maggie Hassan has flipped her approval from 44%-51% to 51%-42%. Congressman Chris Pappas has improved slightly to 42%-44% from 42%-45%. Congresswoman Annie Kuster has flipped from 40%-45% to 51%-37%.

The Democratic Party has regained its lead on the generic ballot. After trailing for much of last year, Democrats now lead by 8 points, 46%-38%.

Levesque stated, “President Joe Biden’s approval is still underwater, setting the backdrop for the upcoming New Hampshire Presidential Primaries, less than a year away.  Former president Donald Trump begins this cycle with an early plurality in the Republican primary, as does Biden in the Democratic primary.  However, there are plenty of potential votes scattered among possible challengers to both, suggesting that a strong candidate in either primary could consolidate enough support for an upset.”  

Levesque concluded, saying “An economy showing some weakness, Trump’s myriad legal issues, concerns about candidate age, and likely changes to the candidate pool create dynamics that will impact the 2024 presidential election.”   

Results are from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll based on online surveys of 1320 New Hampshire registered voters. Surveys were collected between March 28th and 30th, 2023, from cell phone users randomly drawn from a sample of registered voters reflecting the demographic and partisan characteristics of the voting population. Names were presented in random order for the job approval and ballot test series. 

The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 2.7% with a confidence interval of 95%; the margin of sampling error for questions specific to congressional districts is +/- 3.8%; the margin of sampling error for the primary ballot tests is 4.1% for the Democratic ballot and 4.0% for the Republican ballot. The data are weighted for age, gender, geography, and education based on a voter demographic model derived from historical voting patterns, but are not weighted by party registration or party identification.

Founded in 2001, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College provides a nonpartisan forum for discussion and debate. It seeks to develop programming, and to foster scholarship and dialogue, encompassing a diverse range of political topics, opinions and issues. The Institute serves as a resource for students, scholars, politicians, and the general public.