A poll by an outfit called Voter Gravity has Carly Fiorina leading the Republican field in New Hampshire. She’s at 22 percent, four points ahead of Donald Trump. Ben Carson, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush all hover around the 10 percent mark.
I put little stock in this poll. However, since Wednesday’s debate I’ve been thinking that Trump’s fellow “non-political class” members could land a one-two punch against him in Iowa and New Hampshire — with Carson prevailing in the former and Fiorina in the latter. Recall that this is what happened to Mitt Romney in 2008, courtesy of Mike Huckabee and John McCain.
Iowa caucus-goers recently have given the nod to ardent social conservatives. New Hampshire primary voters tend to like sober-minded, knowledgeable conservatives. Carson, though less visibly zealous than Huckabee and Rick Santorum, answers to the first description; Fiorina to the second.
Donald Trump answers to neither.
In all likelihood, there will be more twists and turns to this race before any votes are cast. It’s quite possible that the winner[s] in Iowa and/or New Hampshire will come from the batch of more traditional candidates, i.e., candidates who have committed the sin of holding public office (a transgression that Fiorina attempted in 2010).
But favorable polling by Carson in Iowa and Fiorina in New Hampshire suggests that (as most of us suspected) Trump is vulnerable in both states, and it may provide an indication of the kind of candidate[s] most likely to defeat him there.