The Slatest

Donald Trump Tops GOP Field in Iowa, Ranks Second in New Hampshire

Donald Trump exits his plane during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas.  

Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images

Many have been quick to dismiss the recent polls that show Donald Trump with a commanding lead in the Republican presidential contest saying they were national surveys. At this stage of the game, many rightly argue, the national polls are nothing but a name-recognition contest and, well, it seems natural Trump would top those. Now, however, there are fresh hints that those numbers may have real consequences as Trump appears to be in the lead in early presidential nominating states, where voters are presumably paying more attention to the news and issues.

An NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday shows the real estate magnate in first place among New Hampshire Republicans, receiving the backing of 21 percent of potential primary voters. That is seven points ahead of second-place Jeb Bush and nine from Scott Walker. In Iowa, Trump isn’t in the first spot, although the margin of error could well place him there. Walker tops the list in the Hawkeye State with 19 percent support among potential caucus-goers compared to Trump’s 17 percent. Bush places third with 12 percent. Although the polls suggest Trump’s criticism of Senator John McCain didn’t hurt him in Iowa, they did appear to have hurt him in New Hampshire.

On the Democratic side, there’s little surprise that Hillary Clinton easily tops the polls, although Bernie Sanders does appear to be making some headway, particularly in New Hampshire. In Iowa, Clinton leads Sanders by 29 points, a margin that decreases to 13 points in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, a new CNN/ORC poll appears to confirm what Saturday’s Economist/YouGov poll suggested: Trump’s criticism of McCain has not knocked him from the top spot nationally. In the first national poll conducted entirely after Trump’s criticism of McCain, the real estate mogul still tops the list with 18 percent support among Republicans. Second spot is former Florida governor Jeb Bush with 15 percent, which places him within the margin of error. Walker is a distant third with 10 percent.