Early exit polling in New Hampshire shows just how much former president Donald Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election — and his continued accusations about the legal cases against him being politically based — have taken root in his voter base.
About half of those who voted in the New Hampshire Republican primary Tuesday believed the false claim that President Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 presidential election, according to preliminary exit polls, underscoring the persistence of Trump’s false claims within the GOP that the last presidential election was stolen from him.
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Of those voters who believed Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election, an overwhelming majority — nearly 9 in 10 — voted for Trump in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, while about 1 in 8 voted for former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, the only remaining major challenger to Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.
Of the New Hampshire primary voters who said Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election, over three-quarters supported Haley and about 2 in 10 supported Trump, preliminary exit polls showed. About 1 percent supported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who announced over the weekend that he was suspending his campaign.
The margins from New Hampshire on the question of the legitimacy of Biden’s 2020 win were similar to those from the Iowa caucuses, with a majority of those thinking Biden’s win was legitimate supporting Haley and a majority of those saying it was not supporting Trump, according to entrance polling conducted in the Hawkeye State last week. But unlike in New Hampshire, two-thirds of Iowa Republican primary voters said Biden did not legitimately win.
Trump is facing a total of 91 charges across four criminal cases, two of which are centered on his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. A slight majority of New Hampshire Republican primary voters said Trump would be fit to be president even if he were convicted of a crime, while just over 4 in 10 said he would not, according to preliminary exit polls.
Of those who said Trump would not be fit to be president if he were convicted of a crime, more than 8 in 10 supported Haley. A similar majority of those who believed Trump would be fit to be president even if he were convicted of a crime supported the former president.
In Iowa, about two-thirds of voters said he would still be fit for the presidency even if convicted, according to entrance polls in the state. There, too, the voters who believed that went heavily for Trump.
These are preliminary results from a survey of 2,129 voters as they exited randomly selected voting sites in New Hampshire on Jan. 23, 2024. The poll was conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool (ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC), The Washington Post and other media organizations. Totals may not add to 100 percent because of rounding.
Clara Ence Morse contributed to this report.