Riding on the momentum from the first two Republican Presidential debates, Indian American candidate Nikki Haley has not only emerged as the main rival to former President Donald Trump, but also beats President Joe Biden in a new poll.
Even as Biden edges out Republican frontrunner Trump in a new Fox News poll, leading by just one point, Haley has gone from trailing Biden by 6 points in August to besting him by 4 points. She also garners the highest number of defections among Democrats (9% support her), while Trump gets the least (5% of Democrats back him).
Biden’ support is between 45% and 49% against each Republican running for the White House, including the narrow lead over Trump. But Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a 2-point edge over the sitting president.
Trump, however, maintains his commanding lead in the Republican field with 59% support among the party’s primary voters. He’s been above 50% since March and hit a record 60% in September.
DeSantis remains an extremely distant second — he holds steady at 13%. Nikki Haley registers her best showing yet with 10% support (+5 points), while the other Indian American candidate Vivek Ramaswamy falls back into single digits with 7% (-4 points). All others are below 5%.
Plus, more voters overall say it would be “extremely” important to show up and vote in a Biden-Trump contest (80%) than if the race is Biden vs. DeSantis (67%) or Haley (63%) — and that heightened motivation holds true for Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
Nikki Haley emerges as Donald Trump’s main rival (October 5, 2023)
Meanwhile, according to the Washington Times, Haley is returning to New Hampshire this week to solidify her position as Trump’s chief rival in the 2024 Republican presidential race. She has been gaining ground in the race, especially in New Hampshire.
Building on the momentum she carried out of the two Republican presidential debates, Haley has leapfrogged past DeSantis to a distant second place in the polls behind Trump, the newspaper noted.
READ: Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley forge ahead of Ron DeSantis (September 21, 2023)
“She has proved to be a well-rounded candidate with the chops to engage in policy debates that motivate Republican voters, and she has the soft touch to connect with voters on the retail level,” Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, was cited as saying by the Times.
“She is kind of threading the needle where she doesn’t turn off pro-Trump Republicans, but at the same time, she is definitely the beneficiary of the people who are not going to vote for Donald Trump,” he said.
Former Rep. Will Hurd of Texas endorsed Haley this week after pulling the plug on his long-shot bid and rallied others to join him on Team Haley.
“If we wait much longer, we will anoint Trump as the leader of our party,” Hurd said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “Haley has the clearest path to victory, the character and credentials to lead, the willingness to take on Trump, and the conservative record needed to beat Joe Biden.”
Conservative columnist George Will echoed that sentiment. He called on Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina to follow suit and support Haley against Trump.
Haley raised $11 million in the third quarter of the year and entered October with $9 million to spend in the primary, her campaign announced.
DeSantis had $5 million in primary funds.
The Trump campaign said it brought in $45.5 million in the third quarter through his political committees, with $36 million designated for the primary race, according to the Times.
Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration and a former governor of South Carolina, has held more than 50 events in New Hampshire, according to the Times.
She plans to add to that tally during a two-day campaign swing. She will kick things off with a pair of town halls before filing for the New Hampshire primary ballot and speaking at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s First in the Nation Leadership Summit.
“Nikki Haley told Granite Staters she would earn every vote — and that’s what she is doing,” said Haley spokesperson Ken Farnaso. “Our momentum continues to build, and we’re in it to win it.”