If the polls are accurate, Donald Trump is heading for a big win in the New Hampshire Republican primary tonight. And he could continue to benefit long after that from a packed and favorable field.
For starters, the results of the primary may very well prevent the so-called “establishment” lane from consolidating. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich are expected to finish very close to each other, thereby eliminating the motivation for Bush and Kasich to drop out and back Rubio. In fact, Jeb Bush has even gone so far as to release his South Carolina schedule:
Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence suggests the two governors are set to do very well tonight:
Kasich appears to be benefitting from Bernie Sanders’ massive lead over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. The same independents who backed Jon Huntsman in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 appear to be flocking to Kasich.
Kasich is doing very well on Google Trends. He’s been trading second place over the past 24 hours with Ted Cruz in search interest. Potential Kasich voters appear to be deciding between Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Carly Fiorina. Kasich also seems to be benefitting from Rubio voters reconsidering their choice. Those searching for both John Kasich and Marco Rubio increased 160 percent over the past 24 hours.
All this adds to increasing evidence that there’s a very real John Kasich surge in progress in New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush can’t be discounted either. He has a very strong ground game in New Hampshire by all accounts. Plus, there’s also some anecdotal evidence that his supporters are out in force:
Bush was shown surging in the last New Hampshire poll. The poll, which was done by the Emerson College Polling Society, had Bush in second thanks to a surge in his support over the days it was conducted:
Finally, we can’t forget that only one candidate has defeated Donald Trump in a meaningful contest so far. If you watch Fox News, you may not be aware that Ted Cruz actually won the Iowa caucuses last Monday. And while Cruz isn’t too strong a force in New Hampshire, he is expected to place fourth, according to most projections.
If everything goes right for The Donald today, he will win the New Hampshire primary. That victory will send him to South Carolina with momentum.
More importantly, he may be up against a wounded Ted Cruz and a very crowded establishment lane. A split field only helps Trump’s chances in South Carolina, which is a winner-take-all delegates state.