Former President Donald Trump will win the 2024 New Hampshire GOP primary, ABC News projects. As of 10 p.m. Eastern, Trump was ahead by less than 10 percentage points. While that represents a slight overperformance of polling for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, even a close loss is a big hit to her prospects, as she had staked her campaign on a strong performance in the Granite State. Haley spoke shortly after the projection to emphasize that "this race is far from over," while Trump (and his allies) amped up calls for her to drop out.
ABC News has also projected that President Joe Biden will win the Granite State's Democratic primary. A comfortable write-in victory for him despite not even being on the ballot is a good sign for the incumbent.
Jan 23, 10:39 PM
That’s a wrap!
We’re calling it a night on the ol’ live blog — and it’s barely past 10 p.m.! That’s kind of a microcosm of how little suspense is left in this primary race. With his victory tonight in New Hampshire, Trump proved he can win Republican primaries even in states where the electorate is not favorable to him. That said, Haley can take some solace in the fact that the race was closer than polls suggested: With 44 percent of the expected vote reporting, Trump leads “only” 54 percent to 44 percent. Haley will need to keep beating her polls like that, and then some, to have any prayer of winning South Carolina on Feb. 24 and keeping her campaign alive: Currently, Trump leads in polls there by an average of 37 points!
There’s no more suspense on the Democratic side either. With 21 percent of the expected vote reporting, Biden leads Phillips 67 percent to 20 percent — despite not even appearing on the ballot. Biden was never in any danger of losing the Democratic nomination, but if he’s putting up performances like that even as a write-in, there’s really not much of a story to be told about Democratic dissatisfaction with their president either.
Thanks for joining us for tonight’s live blog, and enjoy the extra hours of sleep New Hampshire is giving you! I know I will. Zzzzz ...
—Nathaniel Rakich, 538
Jan 23, 10:22 PM
Final thoughts: Somewhat conservatives are giving Trump critical support
As much as Trump has rewritten Republican politics, there's a long-standing pattern to winning GOP primary races: the candidate who wins the "somewhat conservative" bloc of voters usually garners the nomination — including Trump in 2016. Here in 2024, the difference between victory and defeat for Trump in New Hampshire was his hold on this group of voters. He carried them 60 percent to Haley's 38 percent, and they made up a plurality of the electorate (41 percent), based on the exit poll. This comes on the heels of his 47 percent take among somewhat conservatives in the Iowa caucuses, ahead of Haley's 25 percent, per the Iowa entrance poll. Although Trump's strongest group is now the very conservative wing of the GOP, which was Ted Cruz's base back in the 2016 Republican primary, Trump's ability to still handily carry the somewhat conservative set has enabled him to comfortably take hold of this nomination contest.
—Geoffrey Skelley, 538
Jan 23, 10:21 PM
Final thoughts: It’s all over but the paperwork
Look, even if Haley had pulled off an upset win in New Hampshire, it was going to be very hard for her to win the nomination because New Hampshire is basically tailor-made for her demographically. But the fact that Trump still won there, despite that fact, just underscores the fact that he has an iron grip on the GOP right now. For now, Haley seems content to keep soldiering on and drawing out this nomination contest, but Ramaswamy was right when he spoke at Trump’s victory rally: It’s time for the rest of us to start looking toward the general election.
—Nathaniel Rakich, 538
Jan 23, 10:20 PM
Final thoughts: Haley hangs on, but for how long?
As of now, Haley is looking like she'll lose to Trump by about 10 points in New Hampshire. If she could get under double digits she'd probably be in a stronger position, but a Trump nomination still seems inevitable. And tonight in New Hampshire he attempted some symbolic consolidation, with Scott and Ramaswamy joining him on the state. Still, I think Haley will stay in for as long as she can fund it. She seems emboldened, and maybe she can shake some Trump supporters loose in her home state to keep it going.
—Meredith Conroy, 538 contributor
Jan 23, 10:19 PM
Final thoughts: Trump still dominates, but weaknesses remain among GOP voters
Big picture, this was a good night for Trump, who gets another win under his belt, avoids the embarrassment of losing an early state, and gets to compete in much more favorable territory from now on. It's obvious he's going to be the Republican nominee for president. But I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that just under half of Republican primary voters in the first two states voted for someone other than Trump, even as his inevitability has become apparent. I do think that should be a cause for some concern among Republicans moving forward, given that the general election will likely be brutally close and even a small drop in Republican support for Trump could prove fatal. The longer Haley stays in, the more data we'll get on just how many GOP voters there are who are not entirely on board with Trump, especially as she steps up her direct attacks on him. There's been so much conversation about Biden's struggles within the Democratic coalition — which are real and worthy of attention — but Trump may face similar challenges as the nominee as well.
—Jacob Rubashkin, Inside Elections
Jan 23, 10:15 PM
Final thoughts: Is moderate Republican defection a bad sign for Trump?
I know we're not finished with New Hampshire yet — and, per Haley's speech tonight, the primary is yet to go on! — but I believe it's never too early for some general election game theory ... So here it is:
A key question for November will be how many of the moderate Republicans who voted for Haley tonight end up voting for Trump. On the one hand, ultimately, Haley voters are still Republicans. The vast majority of them oppose Biden and the Democratic party, so they will probably vote for Trump in the end. But on the other hand, and this is the million dollar question, exactly how Republican are they really? If, say, 5 percent of Haley's supporters defect and vote for Biden or a third party, that could matter in a close election.
Ultimately Trump's poor performance with moderate and college-educated Republicans in the primary so far does not spell doom for him. But it may still highlight one of his key weaknesses for the general.
—G. Elliott Morris, 538
Jan 23, 10:14 PM
Final thoughts: Utterly predictable or utterly unprecedented?
This GOP primary has so far been a combination of utterly predictable and utterly unprecedented. A twice-impeached former president seeks to return to office, and has won a majority of voters in the Iowa caucuses and now the New Hampshire primary. Is Trump a quasi-incumbent facing a surprisingly spirited primary challenge from someone who was polling in the single digits over the summer? Haley's margin tonight looks to be close to the vote share Gene McCarthy had in 1968, which drove LBJ from the race. Or is Haley prolonging the inevitable, coming up short even in a state where a large number of college-educated voters and a smaller evangelical Protestant constituency make it especially receptive to anti-Trump candidates? If the usual rules apply, Trump is very well positioned to win the primary. We'll see if Haley can make her home state more competitive than it looks to be now.
—Dan Hopkins, 538 contributor
Jan 23, 10:12 PM
Final thoughts: No real surprises, but some questions
At a certain point, this contest will be about delegate counts and not perceptions. But we haven’t reached that point yet.
Trump’s speech was highly focused on Nikki Haley, suggesting that, despite his victory tonight, she might be making the former president feel a bit threatened. He also continued to spread a clear falsehood about how the New Hampshire primary works — it’s not an open primary, and you have to change your party registration by October 6 in order to cast a primary vote.
However, narratives about outperforming expectations can only fuel a candidate for so long. It’s far from clear what the next few weeks hold for Haley — can she hang on? Will she be able to pick up delegates in later contests? Or was New Hampshire her best shot at a primary victory?
—Julia Azari, 538 contributor
Jan 23, 10:11 PM
Final thoughts: New Hampshire is different from the rest of the country
While Trump did win today by what’s looking to be a high single-digit/low double-digit margin, it’s worth noting that New Hampshire primary voters really don’t look like the rest of the Republican electorate. In a January poll from Suffolk University/USA Today/The Boston Globe, New Hampshire GOP primary voters were asked to rank how enthusiastic they were about Trump as the Republican nominee on a scale from 1 to 10. Voters were about equally likely to rank their enthusiasm for Trump as a 1 (33 percent) as they were a 10 (34 percent), with the remaining third of voters somewhere in between. Compare that to a national poll, taken around the same time, from YouGov/The Economist, in which 61 percent of Republican respondents said they would be enthusiastic about Trump as the nominee, and another 23 percent said they would be satisfied but not enthusiastic.
Haley’s low double-digit loss tonight might be among the best results she can hope for nationwide. Unless we see some dramatic change in the race (unlikely), tonight’s results continue to suggest that this contest is largely over, and Trump is highly likely to be the Republican nominee in November.
—Mary Radcliffe, 538
Jan 23, 10:10 PM
Final thought: Trump acting like the race is over might fuel Haley's hate fire
I agree with what Jacob said above. Trump's attempts to dismiss Haley might serve to make her more committed to staying in. There's one thing that Haley's right about: Most Americans are actually not that hyped about a rematch between Biden and Trump. They would like someone else to vote for, in theory. But it's often some theoretical, perfect candidate. Up until tonight, Republican primary voters, in polls or in real-life voting, haven't really settled on one of the many Trump challengers. It's possible the winds could change and Haley could win them going forward. But loyalty to Trump has become a litmus test for Republicans, and it's not clear how many of those voters actually exist and are ready to vote for Haley. But if Haley's committed to finding them, the primary might not be over.
—Monica Potts, 538