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New NH Poll shows Jeb Bush as the early leader, with Donald Trump right behind him

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Although it should go without saying that polls conducted as the summer of 2015 commences may not have anything to do with what happens in the winter of 2016, nevertheless they are the “snapshot in time,” as the proverbial phrase goes regarding where the electorate stands.

That should be good news for Jeb Bush in the new Suffolk University poll that was published earlier on Tuesday. The newly minted “official” 2016 GOP presidential candidate leads the field, but that only means he gets 14 percent of a very crowded field at the moment.

And in second place is none other than the most recently announced candidate, businessman/celebrity Donald Trump, who comes in with 11 percent.

The rest of the field remains in single digits, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker third at 8 percent; Marco Rubio at 7 percent; retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson at 6 percent; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 5 percent.

Next up is a three-way tie between Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina at 4 percent each. Mike Huckabee and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (not an official candidate) are at 2 percent, while six other candidates (George Pataki, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich (also not a candidate) combine for 4 percent.

Leading the field, if you will, is undecided, which is where 29 percent of those New Hampshire voters are at the moment.

“Jeb Bush continues to lead, but Donald Trump has emerged as an anti-Jeb Bush alternative in New Hampshire,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Many of those who like Trump are voting for him, and although many more dislike him, the unfavorables are split up among many other candidates. It’s the politics of plurality.”

The Suffolk pollsters also asked New Hampshire GOP primary voters to approve or deny each candidate for an appearance on the debate stage. Fox News, the host of the first GOP presidential debate in early August, has said they will allow only 10 candidates to be on stage in Cleveland.

Here’s the list of candidates that New Hampshire Republican wish to have in that first debate:

  • Bush (83 percent)
  • Rubio (81 percent)
  • Walker (74 percent)
  • Paul (72 percent)
  • Cruz (71 percent)
  • Perry (71 percent)
  • Christie (68 percent)
  • Fiorina (65 percent)
  • Huckabee (64 percent)
  • Santorum (63 percent)
  • Trump (60 percent)
  • Carson (59 percent)
  • Graham (55 percent)
  • Jindal (54 percent)
  • Kasich (52 percent)
  • Pataki (52 percent)
  • Ehrlich (31 percent)
  • Mark Everson, former government administrator (30 percent)
  • Jim Gilmore, former Virginia governor (28 percent)

The statewide survey of 500 likely New Hampshire Republican presidential primary voters was conducted June 18-22, 2015, using live telephone interviews and a split sample of landline and cell phone numbers. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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