Indian American Nikki Haley is the best Republican candidate to beat Joe Biden for the 2024 White House race, especially among independent voters, according to a new poll.
Haley, 51, first Indian American to serve in a presidential cabinet as US ambassador to UN under former President Donald Trump, led the sitting president by two points (40% to 38%) in the poll. Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott all bested Biden by one point
However, Indian American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former Vice President Mike Pence both lost to Biden by three and eight points, respectively in the latest poll by J.L. Partners for the Daily Mail which surveyed 1,000 likely voters from Sep 15 to Sep 20.
Haley’s advantage was most prominent among independent voters. Among this group, she beat Biden by 19 points, the widest margin across the Republican pool. Scott and DeSantis followed with 16- and 10-point leads, respectively. Meanwhile, Trump and Pence both led Biden by just two points.
Nikki Haley emerges as Donald Trump’s main rival (October 5, 2023)
The new poll supports Haley’s positioning of herself as the best Republican to defeat Joe Biden in a general election. Earlier this month, a CNN/SSRS poll also showed that the former South Carolina governor is the only Republican candidate to unseat Biden outside the margin of error.
Biden’s own campaign is reportedly worried about Haley. In August, a senior Democratic strategist close to the team told Politico, “If they nominate Nikki Haley, we’re in trouble.”
Haley’s appeal to independents is often attributed to her more moderate policies that resonate with voters looking for an alternative to Donald Trump. She told Fox News earlier this year: “[Democrats] know that I am the biggest threat that liberals have ever seen and they’re scared about it.”
While Haley has seen her poll numbers increase since the first Republican debate, Trump remains the top presidential candidate among Republican primary voters.
Still, Haley has now emerged as a clear contender for second place, according to another new poll out of New Hampshire.
More donors are also expected to support Haley. Reuters reportedly spoke to four donors and “one source close to a major donor” who are all keen on donating should her campaign continue to strengthen.
The Hill, MSNBC and The Washington Post all declared Haley as a winner of the second Republican debate on Wednesday.