Donald Trump leads the Republican field in New Hampshire by a two-to-one margin, according to a new CNN/ORC poll in the state. More than two-to-one, actually; Trump has 34 percent to Ted Cruz's 14. If you add Cruz and Marco Rubio and -- ! -- Jeb Bush's totals, you get 34 percent, just enough to match the frontrunner.
That's if the election were held today, as the standard polling verbiage goes. If the election were held, say, yesterday, when a poll from American Research Group was released, Trump's lead would have been smaller. And it would have been over John Kasich.
We've noted before that New Hampshire's second-tier is a complete mess, shifting and dancing around in each subsequent poll. Here are polls since January 1, each of which shows Trump in first (at various percentages) and each of which shows some different combination of the rest of the candidates.
That ARG poll is an obvious outlier in this set. It's the second poll in a row that shows ARG outside the expected boundaries of this thing, which, as Dan McLaughlin notes at RedState, comes from a pollster with an iffy track record in the state.
So let's set that aside, perhaps unwisely, and consider the field of play. Trump's led in the Real Clear Politics polling average in the state even longer than he's lead in it nationally. Here's since August 1, a few days after he took the lead.
Trump has consistently led by a wide margin. Dust off your hands; this thing is done.
Ha ha, no, of course not. First of all, 69 percent of the respondents in the poll say they haven't made up their minds, meaning there could be a lot of movement over the next 20 days. (The primary is on Feb. 9.)
We've seen giant shifts in polls right in the runup to New Hampshire before. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was riding high in national polling until she came in third in Iowa. Her numbers dropped by 50 percent in a week.
In New Hampshire, Clinton led Obama by seven points on the day of the Iowa caucus, January 3. By the day of the New Hampshire vote, January 8, Clinton trailed by 8.3 points -- a swing of 15.3 points in 6 days.
Clinton won New Hampshire. Which goes to show that just because Trump leads by a wide margin now (in every poll except ARG's), doesn't mean that he'll lead by a wide margin when polls close.