Donald Trump takes the lead in New Hampshire and surges to second place in Iowa

Now leading by this much.
Now leading by this much.
Image: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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Don’t worry about Donald Trump, the conventional wisdom goes. His improbable campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has already peaked, according to party insiders, and his strong showing in national opinion polls doesn’t mean much since Americans vote for presidential nominees state by state.

Well, scratch that last part: Trump has taken the lead in the New Hampshire primary, which is the first in the 2016 election cycle, and he is now nipping at the heels of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker ahead of the influential Iowa caucus, according to a new NBC/Maris poll released this morning (July 26).

There are still plenty of reasons why Trump’s campaign prospects shouldn’t be taken very seriously—for one, Republicans have a habit of boosting improbable front-runners who fizzle out as elections begin in earnest. But with the first Republican debate scheduled for Aug. 6 in Cleveland, Ohio, the mogul could keep sucking the oxygen out of the GOP primary for weeks or months to come.

For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton has double-digit leads in both New Hampshire and Iowa.