Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley is polling in low single digits nationally – and is currently in fourth place in her home state’s pivotal “First in the South” GOP presidential primary. But the newly minted presidential contender is still shaking things up … albeit not exactly the way she intended.
According to a new Yahoo!/YouGov poll, Haley has the potential to play the role of spoiler in the upcoming 2024 GOP nominating battle – possibly gifting former U.S. president Donald Trump with the GOP nomination by splitting the anti-Trump vote within the party.
Trump trailed Florida governor Ron DeSantis – who has emerged as the surprise 2024 frontrunner – by a 45-41 percent margin in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup for the Republican nod, the Yahoo!/YouGov poll found.
What happens with Haley in the race, though? Trump goes from narrowly trailing DeSantis to narrowly leading him.
“If even one additional Republican candidate challenges Trump and DeSantis for the nomination … the former president would take the lead,” Yahoo!’s Andrew Romano noted.
Haley drew 11 percent in the Yahoo!/YouGov poll – putting her well behind the two top tier GOP choices. With her in the race, though, the order of the top two choices flipped – with Trump garnering 38 percent of the GOP electorate compared to DeSantis’ 35 percent.
The Yahoo!/YouGov poll surveyed 1,585 GOP voters between February 2-6, 2023. Its results were mirrored by a recent WPA Intelligence/ Club for Growth poll which showed DeSantis ahead of Trump by a 49-45 percent margin in a head-to-head race but trailing him by a 37-33 percent spread in a race with other candidates included. That poll surveyed 3,015 GOP voters between January 17-23, 2023.
Haley teased her upcoming announcement earlier this week with a clip touting her patriotism – and her affinity for high heels.
“America is the greatest force for good in human history and we should never be ashamed to say that,” Haley said.
The video then cut to Haley trotting out one of her shopworn lines: “I wear heels – it’s not for a fashion statement it’s because if I see something wrong we’re going to kick ’em every single time.”
Take a look …
As previously noted, Haley’s decision to seek the presidency is an about-face from her prior proclamations.
Asked point blank by Kinnard whether she would support another Trump presidential bid, Haley responded “yes.”
She also implied Trump – who turns 77 this spring – is too old for the job.
“When you’re looking at the future of America, I think it’s time for new generational change,” Haley told Baier. “I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in D.C. I think we need a young generation to come in, step up, and really start fixing things.”
A majority of GOP voters would seem to agree … but so far the only person benefitting from Haley’s entry into this contest is Trump.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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