New Hampshire poll: Trump on top, battle for second emerges

Story highlights

  • Donald Trump remains atop New Hampshire Republican presidential primary race, according to a new CNN/WMUR poll out Thursday
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio climbs to second place with 18%

(CNN)Donald Trump continues to hold a wide lead among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, according to a new CNN/WMUR tracking poll, with the pack vying for second place is beginning to break up.

Behind Trump's field-leading 29% support, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio climbs to second place with 18% following his strong third place finish in Iowa, followed by Ted Cruz (13%) and John Kasich (12%) in a near-tie for third. Jeb Bush holds fifth place at 10%, a hair behind Cruz and Kasich, with Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina well behind at 4% each. The fight for second place between Cruz, Rubio and Kasich remains within the survey's margin of sampling error.
The poll was conducted entirely after the Iowa caucuses.
    Cruz has held steady compared with his pre-Iowa standing, while Kasich and Bush have each bumped up their share of the vote slightly, though within the margin of sampling error. Christie has lost some ground, dipping 4 points since a CNN/WMUR poll conducted before the Iowa caucuses.
    The results reflect interviews conducted during the first two and a half days of a tracking poll that will ultimately wrap together three nights worth of interviews.
    The poll finds that about a third of likely GOP primary voters say they're still trying to decide, just about double the share among likely Democratic voters. Those who are uncommitted to a candidate are less apt to back Trump, just 18% of those who are undecided or merely leaning toward a candidate say they favor Trump. Entrance polls in Iowa showed late-deciders there were also less apt to back Trump than their early-decider peers.
    In the new poll, the share who say they expect Trump to win the primary on February 9 has declined a bit since before the Iowa caucuses, dropping from 66% in the pre-caucus survey to 61% now, though he's still the odds-on favorite among likely voters in New Hampshire. 11% think Cruz will carry the state, 9% Rubio, with the rest of the field at 1% or less.
    Trump has also been ruled out by more likely voters than any other Republican in the field, 37% say they would never vote for him. Cruz is second on this score, with 13% saying they would never vote for him, followed by Bush at 7%.
    The CNN/WMUR poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center by telephone from February 2 through February 4. The poll includes interviews with a random sample of 556 adult residents of New Hampshire, including 209 who say they plan to vote in the Republican presidential primary. For results among the sample of likely Republican primary voters, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 6.8 percentage points.