Even as former President Donald Trump holds a sizable lead in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in New Hampshire, two Indian Americans, Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley, have forged ahead to second and third place in a new poll.
Both tech entrepreneur Ramaswamy (13%) and Haley (12%), first Indian American to get Cabinet rank as ambassador to UN under Trump, have overtaken Florida Gov Ron DeSantis in a new CNN/University of New Hampshire poll.
Ron DeSantis, who stood out as Trumpâ€™s chief rival in the last UNH survey on the New Hampshire race in July, has dropped 13 points since then to 10% support.
DeSantisâ€™ decline stems from a sharp drop-off among moderates, from 26% backing him in July to 6% now. He fell a smaller 8 points among conservatives, according to CNN.
The gains made by the other candidates who are now more competitive with DeSantis seem to be playing out across some clear demographic and political contours.
Ramaswamyâ€™s increase is concentrated more among those who are not registered Republicans â€”up 16 points since July with that group while holding relatively steady among registered Republicans â€” and among younger likely voters.
Heâ€™s up 28 points among those younger than 35 and 11 points among those ages 35 to 49, while holding about even among those ages 50 or older.
Haleyâ€™s increase is a bit larger among those with more formal education (up 11 points among those whoâ€™ve completed some postgraduate work and 15 points among other college graduates) and among moderates (she gained 18 points with the group, while her support among conservatives is roughly even with July).
However, 30% of likely primary voters say they would never vote for Trump while 24% say the same of Ramaswamy, 22% of DeSantis, and 19% of Haley.
Overall, Trump is the first choice of 39% of likely GOP primary voters in the first-in-the-nation primary state. That lags a bit behind his performance nationally, where Republican primary polling routinely finds Trump with majority support.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (11%) is now just behind DeSantis. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott is at 6% support in the poll and former Vice President Mike Pence holds 2%. No other candidate tops 1%.
The poll suggests a sizable share of voters are open to changing their minds between now and the primary, which is expected to be held in January but does not yet have an official date.
The share of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire who say they have definitely decided whom to support holds steady compared with the July UNH poll at 36%, with 38% saying they are leaning toward a candidate and 24% still trying to decide.
Trumpâ€™s supporters are more likely to say they have made up their minds â€“ 69% of Trump voters in the primary say theyâ€™ve definitely decided, compared with just 18% of those backing other candidates.
About half of likely Republican primary voters, 51%, say that Trump has the best chance to win the general election in 2024, with DeSantis the next highest at 16%.
Trumpâ€™s dominance on this measure extends across most demographic and political divides. Even those less partial to supporting Trump overall â€“ college graduates, those who arenâ€™t registered as Republicans, moderates â€“ tend to see him as having a better shot at winning the presidential election in 2024 than the rest of the field.
Few likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters raise serious doubts about Trump when asked to name their top concern about him as a candidate.
Many focus on concerns about threats to Trump, including 17% who cite attacks by opponents or media, 8% who mention his indictments or risk of imprisonment, 6% who mention election fraud and 4% who express concern about potential violence against Trump.
About 1 in 8 express concern about his ability to win, 6% are concerned that heâ€™s divisive or unpopular, and some point to his personality or character (8% mention his bombastic nature, 4% dishonesty, 4% general character concerns).