Recent polls have shown Florida Sen. Marco Rubio gaining steam in the Republican race for president. The latest shows him virtually tied for the lead among likely voters in New Hampshire, the nation’s first primary.
Rubio, the junior senator from the Sunshine State, has been tracking upwards in New Hampshire and nationally but still struggled against Donald Trump’s seemingly insurmountable lead since this summer. But, with recent comments about Muslims from the frontrunner and Rubio’s performance in GOP debates, the senator has now climbed to within one point – well within the margin of error, in the latest poll by AGC.
The poll shows that likely voters back Trump at 19 percent and Rubio at 18 percent, with a margin of error of 4 percent. Among highly likely voters, Rubio has a 19-17 lead over the bombastic billionaire. Among all GOP voters polled, Trump has the lead at 21-17 percent, still within the margin of error.
Rubio performs best with women, married voters and senior citizens. He struggles greatly against younger and uneducated voters.
The poll comes after a CNN/WMUR poll showed Trump with a commanding lead among adults in the Granite State with 32 percent of support among those polled. Rubio comes in at second with 14 percent. Among the tracking statistics of the poll, though, both Trump and Rubio have held their ground or gained, something none of the other candidates can say is happening for them.
Polling among primary voters has been one of the most volatile methods of measurement this far out from the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. At this point in 2008, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was polling at 30 percent with eventual nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona trailing in third at 16 percent. McCain won the primary with 37 percent of the vote.
In Iowa, Romney had 14-point lead over second-place Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. Huckabee won the primary while McCain settled for fourth. In 2012, Hermann Cain had the lead in the Hawkeye State before giving it up to multiple other candidates. Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum settled for seventh in the poll, though he won the primary months later.