TC Bureau (Washington): Former President Donald Trump’s massive lead in the Iowa and New Hampshire Republican primaries against close rivals Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haly would pose an issue for him, even endangering his eventual GOP nomination as voters might smell some fear in his campaigns.
That’s if Haley and DeSantis come too close to him in percentage points, they might flip against Trump. That means voters could flip for DeSantis or Haley if they find their percentage points are as powerful as Trump for electability in the 2024 presidential race, analysts said as Trump’s legal woes would be weighed in as a negative factor against Haley and DeSantis’ clean chits.
Trump has described his high standing with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire as “blowouts” in his favour. But, that strategy could spell danger for the front-runner, as some Republican strategists point out. Trump’s overconfidence in a blowout means that those in second and third – DeSantis and former United Nations envoy Nikki Haley – only have to reach a certain percentage of points to beat Trump’s high bar, media reports said.
“Trump is out there saying, ‘Listen, I’m 70 points up here, I’m 60 points up here. He’s setting this up, and this has always been his M.O. – of winning, of inevitability,” Matthew Bartlett, a Republican strategist, told Politico media network. “That is a very dangerous thing when it comes to politics.”
If the two (Haley and DeSantis) were to reach a certain percentage, voters could sense panic in Trump’s camp, possibly spelling disaster. Some analysts said there was a hint of this in recent attack ads aired against Haley in New Hampshire. “There’s a real chance,” Rob Stutzman, a Republican political strategist, told the outlet, “that voters will smell fear”.
The ad attacking Haley “is a sign that they’re seeing numbers that make them nervous”, he pointed out.
While polls and most analysts agree, Trump has little chance of losing in Iowa, a strong performance by Haley could boost her chances of proving she can win in New Hampshire, where she has seen a massive surge in popularity, overtaking DeSantis for second place — though still 21.5 points behind Trump, media reports said.
DeSantis on the flip-side has put all of his chips in on Iowa. The Florida Governor has a massive 32.7-point gap to make up between now and January 15, but if he exceeds expectations, a second-place finish could throw a shadow of doubt over polls and make voters reconsider how strong Trump really is, the Washington Examiner said in its analysis of how the primaries are shaping up for the three candidates for the GOP nomination.
The primary appears to have been whittled down to a three-person race, with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie still campaigning but looking in from the outside. Christie recently said he would be willing to back either DeSantis or Haley for President, and big wins, or close seconds, by either of them in Iowa or New Hampshire could force him to put his support where his mouth is. (ians)