On Tuesday, former president Donald Trump secured a victory over Governor Nikki Haley in the New Hampshire primary elections, marking a significant step in his efforts to become the Republican presidential nominee.
The New Hampshire primary has particular significance, other than being the first primary election held in the country and the large media coverage around it, because it represents a litmus test for how a candidate will do on the national stage. Winning a plurality of the popular vote in New Hampshire isn’t a guarantee for a party nomination, as evidenced by the fact that only 6 out of the last 10 popular vote winners have gone on to win the party nomination. However, staying competitive in the race and finishing in the top two in New Hampshire can be a telling sign of a candidate’s future success, as 9 out of the last 10 non-incumbent nominees have finished either first or second in its primary.
Moving forward, the Republican nomination seems to be a two horse race between Trump and Haley (Haley affirmed her decision to stay in the race after Tuesday’s second place finish), though exit polls from New Hampshire indicate that Trump has a firm grip on conservative voters. Trump has already won 32 delegates compared to Haley’s 17 (the results of the popular vote in the primaries and caucuses are used to divide up delegates among the candidates) and he seems well positioned to secure the 1215 delegates needed to win the nomination.
The next step in Trump’s quest to win the Republican nomination is the February 8 Nevada caucus, though most eyes will be on the results of March 5. Known as Super Tuesday, this is when several states with large delegate pools, such as California and Texas, will be holding their primaries.