Portsmouth, N.H. – The latest batch of New Hampshire polling, released by Emerson College just after 6 p.m. local time, had Jeb Bush’s campaign bus blasting the school’s fight song on its way here for tonight’s rally, according to communications director Tim Miller:
#Breaking New Hampshire GOP Poll Results:— ECPS (@EmersonPolling) February 8, 2016
Of course, this is just one survey of many. And Emerson, a student-run organization, is not considered an authoritative, first-rate polling outfit.
Still, it’s the first non-partisan public poll in weeks to show Bush in second place. And it feeds into a perception on the ground here that Bush is mounting a last-minute surge in New Hampshire — and that he, more than anyone else, might be the chief beneficiary of Marco Rubio’s stumble in Saturday night’s debate.
Indeed, with the survey in the field from Thursday through Sunday, Emerson wrote of the candidates’ movement before and after the debate: “Overall, Bush trended upward, from 12% on Thursday to 19% on Saturday and 21% on Sunday. His gain seemed to be at Rubio’s expense. Rubio fell from a high of 17% on Friday to single digits on Sunday.”
A final note: Emerson came the closest of any poll to nailing the Iowa caucus results last Monday. Unlike most reputable polls that showed Donald Trump leading Ted Cruz by five points or more, and Rubio stuck somewhere in the mid-teens, Emerson’s final survey showed Trump and Cruz neck-and-neck, 27 percent to 26 percent, and Rubio right behind them at 22 percent. (Cruz won with 28 percent, followed by Trump at 24 percent and Rubio at 23 percent. Emerson’s was the only poll of the entire primary season to peg Rubio north of 20 percent.)