JT Taylor: Another Test For Donald Trump... Don't Rule Out Rubio

Takeaway: Donald Trump leads in New Hampshire and battle for second place between Bush, Kasich, Christie, and Rubio is heating up.

Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt from Potomac Research Group Senior Analyst JT Taylor's Morning Bullets sent to institutional clients each morning. 

TRUMP'S TEST TAKE II:

JT Taylor: Another Test For Donald Trump... Don't Rule Out Rubio - trump 55

Heading into today's primary, Donald Trump leads the field by the same 15-20% polling margin he's maintained for the last six months. He's been downplaying the expectations set by his numbers -- the absence of a solid ground game could hurt him today, as it did in Iowa.

He's locked in his eclectic ~25% of the electorate, but he also has a ceiling; for every Trump vote there's another anti-Trump vote. With so many players still on the field though, that's likely enough for him to win. The latest post-debate tracking poll has Trump at 34%, and Bush/Kasich/Christie/Rubio at a combined 38% -- with some polls showing a late-breaking Bush surge into second place. 

DON'T RULE OUT RUBIO:

JT Taylor: Another Test For Donald Trump... Don't Rule Out Rubio - rubio christie

Despite last week's debate performance, Rubio is still in position for a good showing in today's vote. He risks real damage though if similar flubs, like at a rally last night, keep happening -- there's a fine line between being "on message" and "on repeat." He has to be less risk-averse and can't look like he's retreating to a script. Christie's line of attack on Rubio's "Obama Problem" is sure to come around again, and Rubio will have to show something new when it comes around again at the CBS debate this Saturday.