New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina Surveys
Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security
December 1-2 or 1-3, 2015


National Security is the Top Issue

Likely Republican primary voters in the three critical states of Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire consider “National Security and Terrorism” to be the top issue facing our country (South Carolina: 47%, Iowa: 44%, New Hampshire: 38%). “Government Spending and Debt” is the second top issue for voters (SC: 29%, IA: 32%, NH: 23%), followed by all other issues registering in the single digits. Women are generally more concerned about “National Security and Terrorism” (SC: 55%, 19% Spending/Debt; IA: 48%, 27% Spending/Debt; NH: 44%, 17% Taxes/Living, 15% Spending/Debt) than men (SC: 39% each, IA: 42% National Security, 39% Spending/Debt; NH: 36% National Security, 29% Spending/Debt). 

Q: Which of the following do you consider to be the top issue facing our country: Taxes and Cost of Living, Government Spending and Debt, Infrastructure and Transportation, National Security and Terrorism, Health Care, Jobs and the Economy, or Education?

Voters Want a Military and Terrorism Focused Candidate

When given the choice between a “candidate most focused on a strong military and fighting terrorism,” (SC: 50%, IA: 50%, NH: 48%) “a candidate most focused on religious liberty and moral issues” (SC: 17%, IA: 19%, NH: 7%) and “a candidate most focused on the economy” (SC: 27%, IA: 27%, NH: 37%), a majority of voters in all three states say it is most important to have a military and terrorism-focused candidate. Across the states, self-identified Very Conservative (SC: 55% military, IA: 51%, NH: 59%) and Somewhat Conservative (SC: 49%, IA: 58%, NH: 55%) likely voters say it is most important for a candidate to be military and terrorism- oriented. There is variation among Moderates who plan to vote in Republican primaries in the three states, with those in South Carolina split between military (43%) and economy (41%), and majorities of Moderates in Iowa (66%, 26% military) and New Hampshire (63%, 33% military) prefer “a candidate most focused on the economy.” 

Q: Thinking broadly about the Republican Presidential nomination, which of the following attributes of a candidate are most important:  a candidate most focused on a strong military and fighting terrorism, a candidate most focused on religious liberty and moral issues OR a candidate most focused on the economy?

A National Security Election

Three-in-four likely Republican primary voters in Iowa and South Carolina, and almost two-thirds of those in New Hampshire (65%) say “a Presidential candidate’s positions on national security” are very important “in determining [their] vote for President next year.” Around 20% of voters in all three states say national security issues are somewhat important in deciding their vote (SC: 18%, IA: 20%, NH: 21%) and negligible amounts say this topic is either not very or not at all important for their vote (SC: 4%, IA: 3%, NH: 7%). National security issues peak in importance among Very Conservative voters (SC: 86% very important, IA: 81%, NH: 79%). 

Q: How important are a Presidential candidate’s positions on national security in determining your vote for President next year?

The Candidates on National Security

Likely voters in South Carolina and New Hampshire believe Donald Trump is the best equipped candidate to handle national security issues, while likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa believe Ted Cruz is the best candidate on this topic. 

Q: Which of the following Republican candidates for President do you trust the most to handle national security issues: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Rand Paul, OR Rick Santorum? (* candidates not shown in graphs registered 3% or less in all polls)

South Carolina: Almost a quarter of likely Republican primary voters say they trust Donald Trump the most “to handle national security issues” (24%), followed by Ted Cruz (17%), Jeb Bush (15%) and Marco Rubio (13%). All other candidates register below 10%, including, notably, Dr. Ben Carson (8%). Men trust Trump (28%), followed by Cruz (22%) on national security issues while women are divided between Bush (20%) and Trump (19%). Ideologically, Very Conservatives split between Cruz (29%) and Trump (29%), a plurality of Somewhat Conservatives say Trump (24%), and Moderates choose Bush (20%). A contextually substantial 29% of voters who prefer a candidate focused on “strong military and fighting terrorism” say they trust Donald Trump the most to handle national security issues. Similarly, 29% of those who say a candidate’s positions on national security are very important in determining their vote for President select Donald Trump as the most trustworthy to handle these issues. Those who say national security positions are somewhat important in determining their vote choose Bush (24%).  

New Hampshire: In New Hampshire, a quarter of likely Republican primary voters say Donald Trump is the best candidate on national security issues. Jeb Bush (14%) and Chris Christie (12%) follow Trump in a second tier, while Marco Rubio (10%) and John Kasich (10%) also register in double-digits. Very Conservatives (27% Trump, 15% Cruz), Somewhat Conservatives (22% Trump, 16% Christie, 15% Bush) and Moderates (25% Trump, 15% Bush, 13% Christie) all believe Trump is the best equipped on national security. Men choose Trump (29%) while women narrowly select Bush (22%) over Trump (20%). Voters who say they prefer a candidate “most focused on a strong military and terrorism” (30% Trump) and those who say national security issues are very important in determining their vote (30% Trump) both select Trump as the best candidate on national security. 

Iowa: Just over a third of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers say they trust Ted Cruz the most “to handle national security issues” (34%). Cruz is followed distantly by Donald Trump (19%), Jeb Bush (12%) and Marco Rubio (12%). Cruz surges to 40% in the Des Moines- Ames media market while in Cedar Rapids voters are more divided between Cruz (30%) and Trump (23%). Both men (38%) and women (30%) say they trust Cruz the most on national security, although Bush makes some gains among women (17%). A strong plurality of Very Conservative voters select Cruz (42%) while Somewhat Conservatives divide between Cruz (25%) and Rubio (20%). Among voters who would prefer “a candidate focused on a strong military and fighting terrorism,” the response mirrors the overall results (35% Cruz, 21% Trump). Interestingly, a majority of those who say they would prefer a “candidate focused on religious liberty and moral issues,” trust Cruz the most on national security issues (52%). Cruz is candidate-of-choice on national security issues among those who say national security is very (36% Cruz, 19% Trump) or somewhat important (30% Cruz, 17% Trump) in determining their vote for President. 

National Security Issues

Greatest Threat: A majority of likely voters in all states say terrorism “poses the greatest risk to America’s national security,” (SC: 57%, IA: 60%, NH: 54%), with other potential threats from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea considered as more secondary concerns. 

Q: Which of the following countries or threats do you believe poses the greatest risk to America’s national security:  China, Russia, Terrorism, Iran, or North Korea?

America and China: Likely Republican primary voters are much more likely to say the statement “With an expanding navy, cyber-attacks on American companies and government agencies, and continued aggression toward enemies, China will be America's greatest national security threat over the next generation” (SC: 57%, IA: 56%, NH: 51%) comes closer to their opinion about America’s relationship with China than “America exports over $120 billion of our goods and products to China and it is in America's best interest to maintain a close economic relationship with China” (SC: 21%, IA: 26%, NH: 25%). Strong majorities of Very Conservatives (SC: 69%, IA: 58%, NH: 61% ) in all three states see China as a national security threat , as do Somewhat Conservatives South Carolina (55%) and Iowa (58%). A plurality of Somewhat Conservatives in New Hampshire agree, although more than a quarter see China as an economic partner (26% partner, 48% threat). 

Q: Which of the following statements regarding America’s relationship with China comes closest to your opinion:

America exports over $120 billion of our goods and products to China and it is in America's best interest to maintain a close economic relationship with China, OR

With an expanding navy, cyber-attacks on American companies and government agencies, and continued aggression toward enemies, China will be America's greatest national security threat over the next generation.

Federal Budget: Overwhelming majorities of likely Republican primary voters and caucus-goers in the three states believe that “We must reduce the national debt, but not at the expense of America's military readiness and ability to aggressively confront global threats and protect Americans at home” (SC: 80%, IA: 80%, NH: 70%) rather than “With the national debt over $18 trillion, spending cuts must be made within every department and agency of the federal government, including the military” (SC: 14%, IA: 16%, NH: 23%). 

Q: Which of the following statements regarding the federal budget comes closest to your opinion:

With the national debt over $18 trillion, spending cuts must be made within every department and agency of the federal government, including the military, OR

We must reduce the national debt, but not at the expense of America's military readiness and ability to aggressively confront global threats and protect Americans at home.

America’s Foreign Policy Failures: The “Iran nuclear deal” is “America’s greatest foreign policy failure in recent years” for Republican primary voters in South Carolina (46%) and Iowa (50%) while likely voters in New Hampshire see “the rise of ISIS” as the greatest failure (48%). 

Q: Which of the following do you consider to be America’s greatest foreign policy failure in recent years: Normalizing relations with Cuba, The Iran nuclear deal, The Russian invasion of Ukraine, The rise of ISIS, or Cyber-attacks against America from China?

Full Results & Methodology

METHODOLOGY:
The sample size for the survey is 670 likely Republican Presidential primary voters in South Carolina and the margin of error is +/-3.78%. Reponses were gathered through land line interviews conducted using Interactive Voice Response (IVR). The survey was conducted December 1-2, 2015 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

METHODOLOGY:
The sample size for the survey is 506 likely Republican Presidential caucus goers in Iowa and the margin of error is +/-4.33%. Reponses were gathered through land line interviews conducted using Interactive Voice Response (IVR). The survey was conducted December 1-2, 2015 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

METHODOLOGY:
The sample size for the survey is 514 likely Republican Presidential primary voters in New Hampshire and the margin of error is +/-4.29%. Reponses were gathered through land line interviews conducted using Interactive Voice Response (IVR). The survey was conducted December 1-3, 2015 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Harper Polling