After months of enjoying a commanding lead in New Hampshire, is Donald Trump starting to falter just when it's time to close the deal? The latest Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll puts Trump still in the lead with 29%, but Marco Rubio is in second place and closing in on him with 19%. John Kasich is in third with 13%, Jeb Bush has 10%, and Iowa caucus-winner Ted Cruz is in fifth place with just 7%. The New Hampshire numbers are a little better for Trump in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC/Maris poll, which has him on 30% with Rubio at 17% and Cruz close behind at 15%. No other candidate scored more than 5% in either poll.
"What a difference a caucus makes," David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University's Political Research Center, tells the Globe. "By exceeding expectations in Iowa, Marco Rubio is converting likability to electability, even more so than Ted Cruz, who, like many conservative Iowa winners of the past like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, can't seem to convert an Iowa win into a major showing in New Hampshire." Ahead of Saturday's debate, GOP figures including Gov. Bobby Jindal have come out in favor of Rubio, while rivals like Chris Christie have stepped up their attacks, the Journal reports. (New Rubio supporter Rick Santorum struggled to name any of Rubio's accomplishments in the Senate.)