And none of Trump’s rivals have yet shown the ability to assemble a coalition broad enough to derail the New Yorker, whose New Hampshire victory was distinguished not only by its magnitude but its breadth. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the candidate many insiders believed best positioned to unify an anti-Trump coalition centered on mainstream conservative voters, instead proved the night’s big loser, tumbling to a fifth-place finish after a disastrous debate performance.
In his sweeping victory, Trump won men and women; voters in all age groups; voters in all income groups; Republicans and independents; voters who described themselves as very conservative, somewhat conservative, and moderate; evangelical Christians and non-evangelical Christians; and those with and without four-year college degrees—though his appeal notably lagged among both evangelicals and better-educated Republicans.
Two other points underscore the sweep of Trump’s New Hampshire rout. Compared to his showing in Iowa, he improved his vote share among virtually every one of the groups for which comparable figures are available. In New Hampshire, Trump ran at least 10 percentage points better than he did in Iowa among men; voters in every age group younger than 65; those without a college degree; Republicans and independents; and both very- and somewhat-conservative voters. The only major group in which he lost ground compared to Iowa was moderates, among whom his support declined by a statistically insignificant 2 percentage points (from 34 to 32 percent).
The other compelling measure of Trump’s reach was the consistency of the support he enjoyed. He won something close to one-third of almost every major group, with strikingly little variation across constituencies that usually align with competing candidates in GOP races. He won, for instance, exactly the same 35 percent among Republicans and independents. Measured by ideology, his vote varied only from 35 percent among very conservative voters to 36 percent among the somewhat conservative and 32 percent among moderates. The gender gap in his backing was modest: Trump carried 37 percent of men and 32 percent of women.
Only three groups varied from this pattern. In Iowa, Trump ran best with those over 65; in New Hampshire they were his weakest age group.
The other two variations that emerged in New Hampshire will likely prove more consequential because they reinforced patterns that appeared in Iowa (and have also marked polling both nationally and in other early states). Each points to the opportunity for a rival to mobilize a significant party faction against Trump, but also captures their failure to entirely do so to this point.
In last week’s caucus, Trump ran seven percentage points better among voters who were not evangelical Christians than among those who were; in New Hampshire that gap widened to 10 percentage points. Trump carried both groups on Tuesday night, but reached just 27 percent among the evangelicals, who constitute only about one-fourth of the New Hampshire Republican electorate. That signals the opportunity available to Cruz, who won most evangelicals in Iowa and finished a close second behind Trump among them in New Hampshire. Evangelicals will cast a majority of the ballots in many of the Southern and border states voting in early March, and to stop Trump, Cruz will likely need to establish a substantial advantage among them.