Chris Christie’s gift to Nikki Haley

Donald Trump’s campaign has released a memo, welcoming the news that Chris Christie is ending his presidential bid and insisting it doesn’t matter, especially not in Nikki Haley’s interests.

If anything, the memo reinforces the idea that this is something that will actually help Haley, at least in the all-important New Hampshire primary, where she could theoretically hope for a victory that would eclipse the Trump-dominated Republican primary. are doing.

I’ve previously argued that Christie’s departure could be a boon for Haley in the Granite State. Here’s why:

  • In fact, Christie had a huge following there, running in third place overall with double-digit support. The latest CNN poll showed that the former New Jersey governor and South Carolina governor combined received more votes than Trump (though other polls have not shown that well). do not have).
  • Almost all of Christie’s support came from the political middle class and anti-Trump voters. He won 23% of voters who are not registered Republicans, 26% of moderates and 40% of left-leaning voters, according to a CNN poll. A previous CNN poll showed that a majority of his supporters support President Biden in the 2020 general election. (New Hampshire has an open primary, which allows voters who are not registered with a political party to participate.)
  • Haley is a more traditional pre-MAGA Republican than her opponent, and seems likely to be the most appealing to these voters, given the votes from the same group. For example, she won over the majority of Biden supporters in 2020 who did not support Christie. And her appeal is broader within the party than Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

All caveats typically associated with this type of analysis apply. When voters make a second choice, they do not always return to the candidate most similar to them in ideology or tone. And it is possible that many Christie supporters are silently watching this incident.

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However, many of them did it And quite a few will vote for Haley.

For example, an earlier CNN poll showed that Biden voters made up 20 percent of the Republican primary electorate in 2020 and the majority of Christie supporters. Haley accepted about a third of them, while another third listed her as her second choice. Only one in 10 respondents said their second option was to stay home.

A new poll from Suffolk University in Iowa also showed Haley receiving the most votes in the race without Christie.Christie’s approval rating was just 2%, but Haley’s support was strong. 2 points up In a race without him. All other candidates except Mr. Christie recorded the same percentage.

Beyond that, the Trump campaign’s arguments on this front are not very persuasive.

Notably, they shared their own voting data for races without Christie, DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy, not races without Christie. Trump led Haley by 16 points (56-40) in Iowa and by 8 points (52-44) in New Hampshire.

These are President Trump’s leads, but they are not overwhelming. They also suggest significant gains for Haley, which likely includes many Christie supporters.

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Iowa’s numbers are particularly surprising. His current FiveThirtyEight average has Trump at 52 percent and Haley at 18 percent in a crowded field.So while his own polling shows his support is barely high in a head-to-head matchup, Haley’s support is double.

The poll average in New Hampshire is 41 for Trump and 30 for Haley. In a head-to-head contest, her approval ratings seem to rise more than Trump’s. And given that DeSantis and Ramaswamy are more MAGA, the predictions for Haley are likely largely due to Christie backers.

It may not be enough for Haley to win New Hampshire. But Trump’s eight-point lead also includes a hypothetical matchup that does not include DeSantis and Ramaswamy, who are still in the race for now. The ideal situation for Ms. Haley appears to be for one or both to persist and pull at least a handful of MAGA-leaning voters, thereby reducing Mr. Trump’s vote share.

What does President Trump’s memo betray? That could begin an attempt to explain the possibility of a positive outcome for Haley in New Hampshire.

While Mr. Christie’s supporters have questioned the idea that Ms. Haley will make a significant contribution, Mr. Biden has not participated in the Democratic primary and is “invading the Republican primary.” ” He also touts himself as a Democratic-leaning voter. The Trump campaign could certainly and certainly have an underwhelming night due to an unusual electoral outcome that won’t be replicated in future primary states.

Time will tell. But for now, Mr. Christie has only opened the door a little further to an actual competitive race for the Republican nomination, which is unlikely. (Kristy seems to think Haley will be “smoked” regardless.)

And the most interesting initial initial state became even more interesting.

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