4 exit poll numbers that explain Trump’s New Hampshire primary win

Trump’s dominance among Republican base voters was too much for Haley to overcome, NBC News exit poll results show.


Former President Donald Trump’s dominance among the GOP’s base voters fueled his victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, according to NBC News exit poll results. 

While former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley managed to win independent, or “undeclared,” voters, Trump’s wide margins among self-identified Republican and conservative voters were too vast to overcome. Just like last week’s Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary also underscored how Trump’s ardent supporters have taken over the Republican base.

Here are four numbers from the NBC News exit poll that help explain Trump’s win:

1. Trump’s GOP margin

Three in 4 New Hampshire GOP primary voters who self-identified as Republicans supported Trump, and they comprised half of the electorate (50%). Haley won 58% of voters who described themselves as independent, but by a 22-point margin compared to Trump’s 49-point advantage among Republicans. 

2. Conservatives dominated the electorate

Self-described conservatives dominated the primary electorate, with 67% of voters describing themselves as such. Trump won 71% of them. Haley won 72% of self-described moderates, besting Trump by roughly 3 to 1, but they were a smaller share of the electorate (28%). 

3. The new, pro-Trump GOP base

In the Trump years, the GOP has found success among non-college-educated voters, and Trump handily won that group Tuesday night. Voters without college degrees were a majority of the electorate (52%).

Among voters without college degrees, Trump won 67%, while only 31% voted for Haley. Trump’s performance among those voters was also up 245 percentage points compared to 2016, when he won 42% of them.

Although they made up smaller shares of the electorate, Trump also won among other groups that make up the GOP base, including 66% of voters with incomes of less than $50,000, 70% of white evangelical or born-again voters and 53% of voters over 65 years old.

4. Trump’s edge on top issues

The top two issues for GOP primary voters were the economy (37%) and immigration (30%) — and Trump bested Haley on both.

The former president won 55% of voters who said the economy was their top issue and 79% of voters who said immigration mattered most to their votes. 

Exit poll results also showed that one of Haley’s key messages on the campaign trail was not a top priority for primary voters. Haley has made the case that she is best positioned to defeat President Joe Biden in November, but just 14% of primary voters said that mattered most to them. And even among those voters, Trump still had the most support, with 59% supporting him and 39% backing Haley.